Pitching in for the health of Filipinos

Thirteen mayors and nine Department of Health officials were recently awarded for displaying excellence in leadership that led to health system reforms and, for mayors, zero maternal death for two straight years.

These health leaders were among those introduced to the “bridging leadership” framework during training programs under the DOH- Zuellig Family Foundation program.

“What you have done is you have opened the minds of the people that health is not just about infra and equipment,” said former Health Secretary Janette Garin, in acknowledging the advantages of the program for mayors.

The training is part of the DOH-ZFF’s “Health Leadership and Governance Program” (HLGP) initiative intended to turn mayors into pro-active health system reformists. This means not just building health facilities but also improving governance, health financing, information system, service delivery, access to medicines, and health workforce.
Key to being a “bridging leader” is the ability to be fully accountable to the health of one’s people, and work collaboratively with different people to co-create health solutions and innovations.

As Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said during the HLGP Colloquium, “Health is everyone’s concern. Nobody is exempted. We should all pitch in. Nobody’s exempted from making health a priority.”

The three-year DOH-ZFF partnership program began in May 2013 under then Secretary Enrique Ona, who appealed for a continuity and support for the program.

The partnership was extended by Garin until November 2017. While Ubial, who has worked under 13 health secretaries, said she plans to continue the program, especially since, according to her, one of her strengths is building on the best practices of past DOH heads.

Photo caption: Health leadership excellency awards were handed out to outstanding mayors and health officials recently by the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF). Present during the ceremony were (from left) Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, former health secretaries Janette Garin, Enrique Ona and Esperanza Cabral (also a Zuellig Family Foundation trustee) with one of the awardees, Region 1 DOH Director Myrna Cabotaje, David Zuellig (trustee), Roberto Romulo (ZFF chairman) and Ernesto Garilao (ZFF president).