Ramon Aristoza Jr. – Acting President & CEO, PhilHealth, Philippines
Ramon Aristoza, acting President and CEO of PhilHealth, discusses the current challenges the organization is facing in terms of realizing the goal of universal healthcare for the Filipino population, their strategies moving forward, as well as the successes the program has seen over the years. He also discusses the need for the private sector to join them as partners in achieving the mutual goal of expanding access to healthcare to the entire population.
PhilHealth is the largest organization in the Philippines working towards achieving the goal of universal coverage for the Filipino population. Could you describe how these efforts have evolved over the years and some of the goals currently being pursued?
I believe that universal healthcare is a very formidable challenge for the government and PhilHealth, especially being the we are the biggest institution working towards that goal. However, we are not solely responsible, this effort requires collaboration with a variety of sectors. The national government and the Department of Health (DOH), in preparation for providing universal health coverage, are working to provide the infrastructure for public health. Additionally, the Department of Social Welfare is continually working to identify poorest of the poor. It is national government policy that we have the protocol to identify the poor, and in an effort to not have this become politicized we have an entity called the National Household Targeting for Poverty Reduction List. We make use of this list as our common list for distribution of health cards for the poor, and not includes nearly 40 million families, not including the dependents. We are responsible for providing those on this list coverage for healthcare. We have already reached milestones in our work to achieve this goal. However, as of last year we reported that 92 percent of the entire population is now covered by PhilHealth.