MANILA, Philippines — A group of health workers argued that services for the poor will lessen once the proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for 2018 gets approved.
According to the Alliance of Health Workers, P1.5-billion has been cut from the proposed budget of the DOH, which was supposed to be allocated to the maintenance and other operating expenses or MOOE for 2018.
The MOOE serves as the fund for public hospitals’ primary needs like medicines, IV fluids, and others.
With the reduction in DOH’s budget, indigent patients will be left with no choice but to pay for other medical expenses.
“With the help of our health workers in different hospitals in lobbying, we won this because this had been returned the General Appropriation Act. Ubial is repeating this issue again for 2018,” Alliance of Health Workers president, Robert Mendoza said.
The group said seven public hospitals will be affected by the reduction of DOH’s budget, which includes the Amay Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City.
The health workers argued that DOH increased the budget for the Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) to P3.906-billion when it does not even benefit many.
“They will order the recruitment of more Philhealth members. We have more patients, more reimbursements. Let’s share in this,” Health Alliance for Democracy Sec. General Joseph Carabeo said.
The group also complained that many health workers are overworked and underpaid, while more than 20,000 of them are contractual workers.
They said the lack of hospital personnel means lower quality of service.
“We have a lot of effective nurses before, but now they are working abroad,” NKTIEA-AHW president Edwin Pacheco said.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, meanwhile, explained the Department of Budget and Management cut DOH’s budget because of their unused funds in 2016.
Ubial said they have already appealed the said move to Congress.
She also noted the increase in the budget of Philhealth stemmed from the fact that the benefits for senior citizens also saw an increase. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue