Health ministry AND ZFF to bring better health outcomes for the poor

More mayors will become more adept in running their local health systems. This is what a newly-launched public-private partnership expects to achieve with the “Health Leadership and Governance Program”(HLGP). The joint undertaking between the Department of Health and the Zuellig Family Foundation will cover 15 regions, 54 provinces, and 609 cities and municipalities all over the country. The 609 local government units (LGUs) were identified as priority areas by the National Anti-Poverty Commission. The program will run from 2013 to 2016.

“The DOH recognizes the importance of good governance and leadership to achieve good health outcomes in the local government units; thus, this joint venture of DOH and ZFF,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona in his keynote address.

The health chief also expressed optimism the program will help the country achieve its health-related Millennium Development Goals.

“By bringing this intervention to the 609 LGUs, we are optimistic that the country will achieve its health-related MDG targets while at the same time develop empowered leaders to improve not only the health outcomes but also the overall quality of life of all Filipinos.”

The project will adopt ZFF’s “Health Change Model” which according to ZFF chairman Roberto Romulo “is premised on the assumption that local leadership is the key to changing systems and innovating programs that can lead to better health outcomes.”

Romulo, in his response, said that since piloting the strategy in 2009, the foundation’s “97 municipalities have continuously decreased its maternal and infant mortalities.” He added that “while bringing down maternal mortality ratio of the country is proving to be a challenge” most of their municipalities have hit the MDG target of 52 last year.

The program is expected to cost P864 million of which ZFF, along with its partners United Nations Population Fund and MSD (Merck Sharp & Dohme), will fund P125 million. The foundation is currently in talks with other organizations like the UNICEF, USAID and AusAID that have all expressed interest in providing additional resources for the program.

Ona is also looking forward to having the program implemented in areas beyond the 609 priority LGUs.