More than 70,000 people live in urban poor communities in Pasay City. While they make up less than a fifth of the city’s population, they had to fight for attention from the four hospitals and a dozen health centers servicing the locality.
Rising costs of medicine and basic medical services have also discouraged poor families from seeking health care. Majority cannot afford laboratory services such as urinalysis, stool examination, blood examination and x-ray. Thus residents in the city had to wage a battle against cardiovascular and infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and tuberculosis, aside from the daily struggle to make ends meet. their burden, the city government decided to foot the bill by tapping the National Health Insurance Program (PhilHealth). Pasay City passed Resolution 978 providing funding to enroll at least 85% of poor families in the health insurance program.
For this year, the city government set aside P7 million for the program dubbed as “PhilHealth Plus”. This was an increase from P6 million last year. The Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth, Pasay City’s partners in PhilHealth Plus, also extended funds.
Last year, 9,319 families enrolled in the program. Of the total, 5,042 availed of the outpatient benefit package that provides free consultation and laboratory examinations in health centers. Patients who require confinement are admitted in accredited hospitals.
The city government also established several health centers to provide free consultation and medicine. Health centers are strategically located within the city to lessen problems of access. PhilHealth Plus also promotes health consciousness among its poor beneficiaries through the barangays.
“People have a sense of security now. They are a greatly enhanced physically and mentally, “ says Dr. Pilar A. Perez, city health officer. “The savings they get from PhilHealth Plus can be used to augment their needs in other areas such as food, shelter and education.”
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2003 Galing Pook Awards.