ARMM health gets support from government heads, US

“The keys to ARMM’s progress are good governance, strong and honest leadership, transparency and accountability, and an ability to love its history,” Vice President Leni Robredo said in a colloquium of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) health leaders.

“Programs like yours and partners like Zuellig and USAID allow mayors to quickly understand the problem and become a catalyst for change,” Robredo added, pertaining to the Zuellig Family Foundation’s multi-modular training for local leaders that seeks to improve their understanding of the public health system to effectively provide programs that would address their constituents’ health needs.

She said the mayors need to go beyond medical missions or paying for the medicine and hospital bills of his constituents, establish a clear vision for health change, so that his constituents develop co-ownership of health programs.

The program is supported by the Department of Health (DOH) and the United States Agency for International Development, and at the event DOH Secretary Pauline Ubial stressed the government’s thrust for an inclusive healthcare. She said, “The Philippine Health Agenda is for everyone including our Muslim leaders, our Moro leaders and our Moro people, so our battle cry is All for Health towards Health for All.” She added the new health agenda includes financial risk protection and the “best possible health outcomes for all Filipinos with very little disparities across social economic class, race, ethnicity and geographic situation.”

Among the 19 ARMM municipalities recognized for finishing the program were Akbar, Albarka, Lamitan, Lantawan, Simisip, Tabuan Lasa, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburanand Ungkaya Pukan in Basilan; Kalingalan Caluang in Sulu; Sibutu, South Ubian and Tandubas in Tawi-Tawi; Masiu, Piagapo, Pualas and Taraka in Lanao del Sur; and Sultan Mastura and Sultan Sa Barongis in Maguindanao.

In 2009, ZFF began its health intervention program in select municipalities in ARMM using its Health Change Model as strategy. By 2013 it expanded its reach to 39 municipalities, or 34 percent of all ARMM municipalities.

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In photo are (from left) USIAD Director for Office of Health Karen Klimowski, ZFF President Ernesto Garilao, Tandubas’ Mayor Rahiema Salih and municipal health officer Dr. Allahminda Uriben and DOH-ARMM Secretary Khadil Sinolinding. Tandubas received a special citation for reaching the national target of 90 percent for facility-based delivery during the ARMM Colloquium on October 14.