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The People’s Health Agenda for the Aquino administration

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The Visayas Primary Health Care Services, Inc (VPHCS) and the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW)-Cebu Chapter have joined the campaign for the adoption of the People’s Health Agenda by the Aquino administration.

It was launched last June by various national health groups including the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), the AHW and the Council for Health and Development (CHD).

The People’s Health Agenda calls for the prioritization of people’s health and measures to improve health and health workers’ conditions.

The Agenda was presented by AHW National Secretary-general Jossel Ebesate during a forum sponsored by the VPHCS and AHW-Cebu Chapter on August 6, 2010 at the Visayas Community Medical Center (VCMC). The forum was attended by various health professionals, students and workers.

The Agenda includes among others, namely:

• Immediate release of 43 illegally-detained health workers arrested last February 6 in Morong, Rizal.
• Immediate increase of the national health budget to at least P 90 billion.
• Provision of free health services for the poor in all levels of health care.
• Provision of free essential medicines for the poor in rural health centers and public hospitals.
• Full implemention of salary increase for nurses, doctors and other health workers
• Full implementation of health workers benefits like Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), subsistence pay and hazard pay.
• A stop to privatization/commercialization of government hospitals.
• Provision of adequate number of health professionals like doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists to far flung areas nationwide.

“Like most of our fellow Filipinos, we are hopeful that the new administration will listen and be responsive to our people’s health needs,” VPHCS physician Dr. Erlinda Posadas said.

The AHW is a 21,000-strong national organization of health workers from national government hospitals, rural health units, private hospitals, clinics and organizations. It has been in the forefront of health workers’ fight for health workers’ concerns and better services for patients. It is instrumental in pushing for the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers (RA 7305), the law that provides for economic benefits and rights to public health workers.

The People’s Health Agenda shall be presented to President Aquino this month.

The VPHCS and AHW-Cebu lamented that patients and health workers have suffered long enough in the past years from decreasing health and hospital budget, inadequacy and increasing cost of public health services, and low salaries and inhumane working conditions that push most health professionals to go abroad. Poor patients are dying because they cannot afford medicines and health services even in public hospitals. Health workers are demoralized because they cannot give quality and effective health services despite their best efforts.

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