Senator Loren Legarda today lauded new Kalusugang Pangkalahatan health programs of the Department of Health, citing the Rotavirus Vaccination and the Philhealth Z Benefits covering catastrophic illnesses.
“It is noteworthy that the Philippines is first in Southeast Asia to introduce this vaccine that will save children’s lives from diarrhea, as part of the DOH’s expanded program of immunization,” Legarda said.
According to the DOH, 700,000 infants aged 1½ months up to 3 ½ months belonging to families listed in the National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) will be vaccinated this year with rotavirus vaccine with an initial focus on children in the poorest communities in the country as these communities have the highest morbidity and mortality rates from diarrheal diseases.
Statistics of the World Health Organization reveal that rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and children, which result in annual deaths of about 600,000 children and over 2 million hospitalizations worldwide.
“Philhealth Z Benefits, on the other hand, is a breakthrough in a sense because it covers illnesses that are catastrophic to both health and financial situations, like early stage breast cancer, prostate cancer and childhood acute leukemia. This emphasis on how health affects productivity and consequently, the future of Filipino families, will really go a long way in alleviating hardship and poverty,” Legarda explained.
PhilHealth will pay P100,000 for breast cancer, P210,000 for standard risk childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia, and P100,000 for prostate cancer to those who belong in NHTS-PR-listed families.
The NHTS-PR has identified 5.3 million poorest households nationwide.
“What is crucial now is to make these healthcare benefits known by the poorest households who are the intended beneficiaries. With these developments, I am confident that universal healthcare will soon become a reality for the Filipino people,” Legarda concluded.***