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April 4, 2014

Co-creating An Improved Health System: Masbate Provincial Health Summit

     Last April 2, the province of Masbate, led by the Department of Health Center of Health and Development Region V together with the Zuellig Family Foundation, conducted a Provincial Health Summit in Masbate City. It was the first time that the provincial health summit was attended not only by public health leaders and mayors but also other government agencies and  NGOs.

The idea of having the summit was due to the observation that among the provinces in the Bicol Region, Masbate is one of the provinces who were not performing well when it comes to improving some of their health indicators, particularly their maternal deaths. In 2012, around 16 mothers died due to pregnancy complications in Masbate, all of whom were poor but were not covered by Philhealth. In the province of Masbate, ZFF has 4 active partner LGUs: Cataingan, Mandaon, Milagros and San Jacinto. All of the mayors of our partner municipalities came to the summit along with other mayors from other towns together with their municipal health officers. Even the governor of the province came to listen to the morning sessions. I also happened to meet my former classmate in medical school who is now currently the MHO of Dimasalang, Masbate.      

It was definitely a lively summit especially during the parallel sessions. Two major topics were discussed in the parallel sessions and I was able to facilitate the group tackling Financial Risk Protection. During the open forum, local government units had the opportunity to clarify and raise certain issues with Philhealth, DSWD and even CHD relating to their concerns in implementing    certain programs of government in their respective areas. The challenge now is how the province of Masbate as a whole will be able to improve their health system both at the provincial level and at the municipal levels.







   





     It was my first time to travel to Masbate and my only regret was that I didn't have enough time to stay and enjoy the Rodeo festival. I did promise that I will return to Masbate with my own cowboy boots and jeans and perhaps

   

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