BARMM leaders and partners set to fulfill UHC

Bangsamoro Region’s health leaders and stakeholders gathered in a two-day summit to learn how Universal Health Care (UHC) has progressed in two implementation sites and the specific steps toward UHC’s full implementation in the region given its distinct structure and context.

Two cases were presented: Maguindanao where the health system is devolved to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)—a setup shared by all provinces except one—and Basilan, the only province where the health system is devolved to the local government unit (LGU). As of January, Maguindanao fulfilled 100% of the key result areas under the preparatory level of the health system maturity while Basilan achieved 94%.

On the second day, a forum facilitated the development of a technical assistance plan to support and guide LGUs in their implementation. In response, development partners and other stakeholders presented their action plans supporting UHC implementation in the BARMM. 

Jainab Abdulmajid, manager of the Zuellig Family Foundation’s ongoing USAID-funded BARMMHealth project with the University Research Co., presented ZFF’s leadership and governance training, which will have leaders from the regional management councils and provincial health boards of Basilan and Maguindanao as participants. Through the project, ZFF foresees faster UHC implementation that will result in improvements in public health policies and institutional support for services in maternal health, child health, and family planning.

The event, held last Jan. 30 to 31 in Davao City, was attended by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Abdullah Dumama and BARMM’s Ministry of Health (MOH) top officials including Minister Rizaldy Piang, Deputy Minister Zulgarneyn Abas, and Assistant Secretary Abdulhalik Kasim, who will lead the newly created development partners coordination unit (DPCU) that will ensure a coordinated UHC effort among stakeholders. 

Experts who shared their UHC knowledge at the summit included Mahidol University’s Dr. Sauwakon Ratanawijitrasin from Thailand and Dr. Rowen Galpo, former city health officer of Baguio City. Other attendees were representatives from the World Bank, United Nations Children’s Fund, International Organization for Migration, and Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress.

(Published February 7, 2023)