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ARMM to reinvigorate local health boards

Cotabato City (October 18, 2016) – After finishing a two-year, three-module program under the Health Leadership and Governance Program, nineteen (19) local chief executives and nine (9) local health officials have vowed to reinvigorate local health boards in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The participants received program certificates of completion during graduation rites at Heritage Hotel in Pasay City on Friday, October 14. Dubbed “ARMM Colloquium: Moro Leaders in ARMM as Champions thru Health Leadership”, the program was aimed at training local chief executives and health officers in every local government unit to become responsive leaders capable of addressing the health needs of their constituents.

“We are grateful to the Zuellig Family Foundation for giving us a chance to prove our worth and develop our homegrown champions,” ARMM’s Health Department (DOH) Secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr. said. The foundation was established in the Philippines in 1997 by the Zuellig family, which is engaged in pharmaceutical business as well as other ventures.

Dyan Sangkula Jumaide, ARMM’s Health department assistant secretary, said the program participants are committed to reinvigorate the function of the local health boards in the region.

In accordance with standards and criteria set by the DOH-ARMM, members of local health boards do the annual budgetary allocations for the operation and maintenance of health facilities and services within the municipality, city, or province.

Vice-President Leni Robredo who was a guest in last week’s event said the “key to ARMM’s progress are good governance, strong and honest leadership, transparency and accountability, and an ability to love its history, beautiful and tragic as it may be.”

“The program allows the participants to understand the problems and become a catalyst for change. The mayor understands that he needs to go beyond medical missions, or paying for the medicine and hospital bills of his constituents, establish a clear vision for health change, and be a health ambassador so that his constituents develop co-ownership of the health programs,” Vice-President Robredo said.

ARMM local leaders and health personnel shared their acts of leadership in health and how these contributed to better health outcomes that benefited their constituents.

Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi mayor Rahiema Salih said “Kung tutuusin kaya ko naman gawin mag-isa para sa kalusugan ng aking mga constituents. Mayor ako, may resources ako.”

“Pero natutunan ko na para matamasa ng mga tao ang kalusugan na nararapat para sa kanila, kailangan kong makipagtulungan sa mga leaders sa aking munisipyo, lalong-lalo na kay Doctora Uribe (municipal health officer),” she said. “Kailangang makinig kami sa isa’t isa at maging honest sa bawat isa upang magkatugma ang kagustuhan para sa kaunlaran ng aming bayan," she added.

Speaking on behalf of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, Dr. Sinolinding said ARMM used to be the example to show what not to do in government. Today, the ARMM is referred to as a model for empowered and decentralized governance.

Improved delivery of health services has always been a priority in the region, Dr. Sinolinding said. In recent years, the ARMM has installed rural health units in 105 of the 116 municipalities and two cities in the region.

Within the same period, he added, the regional government increased the number of PhilHealth cardholders by 80%, from 834,153 to 1.5 million. “We also increased the number of PhilHealth-accredited units by 85%, from only 47 in 2012 to 87 in 2014,” said Dr. Sinolinding

Making health services accessible to all is key in improving the quality of life in the region, especially in the island provinces, the regional chief of the Health department said.

The DOH-ARMM will strengthen the linkages between the local government units and the department to provide the medical needs of the ARMM constituents, Dr. Sinolinding said. (Bureau of Public Information)
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