COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2009) - The Department of Health (DOH) has signed Thursday a memorandum of agreement with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the implementation of the Investment Plan for Health (IPH) in an effort to further improve the health sector in the five provinces under the ARMM.
The MOA stipulates the relationship of the DOH and the autonomous regional government in the exchange of resources and investment for health in the ARMM. It also formalized the alliance for health sector reform implementation in the autonomous region.
The ARMM IPH is a strategic framework geared towards the improvement of health services in the region and the plan is based on the FOURmula One for Health program, a medium term roadmap for health sector reforms in the Philippines covering 2005-2010.
“We recognize the need for a comprehensive reform of the health sector. Our people, regardless of economic background, deserve appropriate and quality health service,” ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan said in a statement.
He also cited President Gloria Arroyo’s continuing support for the ARMM’s peace and development efforts.
The MOA essentially covers the release of funds or commodities and report of expenditures and the implementation of programs, projects and activities, including the utilization of resource transfers, and the working arrangements and procedures for its implementation, according to the ARMM Bureau of Public Information.
DOH-ARMM Secretary Tahir Sulaik said the high incidence of maternal and infant mortality, malnourishment and other health problems are their biggest problems.
Sulaik said with the ARMM IPH, the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi would be receiving proper and efficient health services because it provides for strategies for governance, service delivery, financing and regulation of the region’s health sector.
Sulaik said they hope the ARMM IPH would finally allow them to cater efficiently to the health needs of people in the region and even those in remote communities with the creation of more “Botika ng Barangay”, rural health units and construction and improvement of hospitals and other health facilities.
While DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said with the ARMM’s high poverty incidence and long history of armed conflict, they are now giving top priority to the region. He also announced during the signing ceremony held at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City, the transfer of P17-million to DOH-ARMM as initial funding for the implementation of the ARMM IPH.
Ampatuan expressed full commitment to the implementation of the ARMM IPH and the FOURmula One for Health program, adding that for the region to move forward and establish economic gains, crucial health sector reforms must first be achieved. (Mindanao Examiner)