Collaboration and working in synergy are critical in achieving Universal Health Care (UHC), emphasized Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje during the network training for the Department of Health’s Field Implementation and Coordination Team (DOH-FICT) in northern Luzon.
Among the challenges in the implementation of UHC in northern Luzon is establishing a health care provider network (HCPN). HCPN is a vital ingredient in improving access and availability of health care in the regions because it links local health providers for coordinated and comprehensive delivery of health care programs and services.
To address this, the training provided the regional health teams and medical center chiefs from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, and Cagayan Valley the venue to firm up their HCPN development plans and work together in ensuring inclusive and responsive health services in the context of UHC.
The training held last June 8 to 10 in Baguio City is part of the Leadership Development Program for Universal Health Care (LDP-UHC), a partnership between the DOH-FICT in northern Luzon and the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF).
HCPN development plans
The three-day activity helped participants sift through the challenges in UHC implementation, recognize the important role of regional health teams in communicating the importance of achieving UHC, and identify the collaborative work needed to reach the shared regional health vision.
The regional teams developed their improved HCPN development plans after sessions on having a shared vision, systems thinking, stakeholder mapping and analysis, and team synergy.
CAR will create a regional HCPN that may eventually include an inter-regional HCPN. It also identified strategic actions to fast-track its UHC milestones, such as strengthening the capacity of the regional health promotion unit and licensing of levels 2 and 3 health facilities.
Ilocos Region will capacitate its provincial health team leaders (PHTLs) to coach and mentor local chief executives in operationalizing UHC.
Cagayan Valley will institutionalize the hospitals identified as apex hospitals–Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Southern Isabela Medical Center, and Region 2 Trauma Medical Center. It also plans to eventually upgrade Batanes General Hospital to an apex hospital. Apex hospitals serve as end referral facilities for patients in need of higher and specialized levels of care. They also provide the HCPN with performance monitoring and technical assistance, including training of human resources, and research.