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Paula Paulo


Zuellig Foundation picks Albay for Best Practices on Health MDGs LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (PNA) -– An international foundation dedicated to health care has picked Albay among all provinces in the Philippines, for having the “Best Practices on Health” by building a health system that is sound and sustainable, supported as it is by multisectoral contributions, revenue shares, and a domestic-universal health insurance.In a caselet paper titled Albay: Best Practice on Human Resources for Health Sector, the Zuellig Family Foundation lauded the “Health for All” strategy of the province, and its sincerity in “making good on the promise of ending poverty” which has helped Albay attain its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health -- infant mortality, child mortality and maternal mortality in 2008 -- well ahead of the global target of 2015.The Zuellig Family Foundation is a partner of the Philippine government and other stakeholders in the health sector in achieving the MDGs for health through better health outcomes for the poor through sustainable healthcare programs and services.The paper likewise cited Albay Gov. Joey Salceda for developing his province‟s physical and human capacity for disaster risk reduction, managing health emergencies, and co-managing Albay‟s hospitals by implementing a „strategic alliance‟ among government health facilities designed to further enhance the delivery of health services –- particularly hospital care –- to the residents of the province.The Department of Health has accepted Albay‟s proposal for the merger of the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital (BRTTH) in Legazpi City, the Ziga District Memorial Hospital (ZMH) in Tabaco City and the Josefina Belmonte Memorial Hospital (JBMH) in Ligao City.The co-management scheme for these key facilities could potentially lead to the emergence of BRTTH as the biggest -– at nearly 500 beds, with ZMH and JBMH accounting for 50 and 80 beds, respectively –- and most modern tertiary medical facility south of Manila, the paper noted.An immediate benefit of the merger would be the assured improvement in the quality of medical services at ZMH and JBMH to tertiary status. Consequently, if the quality at JBMH becomes at par with BRTTH, families from Albay‟s third congressional district need not travel far to Legazpi City for hospital care, or visit their patients, the paper said.With the merger, doctors in Albay will also no longer have to take leaves of absence to improve their skills. They can do so in the province through the residency program at BRTTH, since they would be able to continue with their residency as part of the BRTTH structure, it added.According to Governor Salceda, “Albay is among the first and few provinces to achieve MDG for Health infant mortality, child mortality and maternal mortality –- which we have already achieved as of 2008, well ahead of 2015.”Infant Mortality Rate was reduced to 12 per 1,000 live births (compared to the national target of 17 per 1,000 births by 2015); Child Mortality Rate dipped to 18 per 1,000 live births (compared to 26.7 per 1,000 births); and Maternal Mortality Rate went down to 59 per 100,000 live births (compared to 90 per 100,000 births).Albay has also achieved a marked improvement in PhilHealth coverage from 18,010 in 2007 to 173,000 in 2010.