ASMPH, UK researchers team up to assess Universal Health Care

The Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH), through the Ateneo Center for Health (A-HEALS) joined forces with British researchers to review the current efforts in Universal Health Care in the Philippines.
Held on January 11-14, 2016 at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila, the workshop, entitled “Are Current Research Efforts on Universal Health Care (UHC) in the Philippines Showing Evidence for Achieving a Goal?” was part of the Newton Fund’s Researcher Links program. The workshop provided an opportunity for early-career researchers to pursue collaborative training and research work with leading researchers on science and innovation. In July 2015, A-HEALS received the grant from the United Kingdom’s Newton Fund to conduct a workshop examining the issues of universal health care. It was co-organized with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical

ASMPH Dean and A-HEALS Executive Director Dr. Manuel Dayrit explains the rationale of the workshop.
Speaking before an audience comprised of British and Filipino researchers, ASMPH Dean and A-HEALS Executive Director Dr. Manuel Dayrit explained the workshop’s framework.
“The whole concept was to look at the issues of UHC. The design of the workshop involved looking at the institute of health care. We identified 100 studies (published and unpublished) from 2010 - 2015,” said Dayrit. Most of the studies were accomplished with support from the Department of Health (DOH) as part of the National Unified Health Research Agenda. The Philippine Center for Health Research and Development also helped in the procurement of these studies, he added.

The workshop serves as an opportunity for young researchers to collaborate on science and development issues.
The workshop, Dayrit clarified, was not intended to provide answers to the glitches in the UHC system, but rather was meant to “enlighten us” on the issues at hand.
Dayrit also mentored the young researchers in synthesizing the studies, along with Dr. Kara Hanson (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Dr. Helena Legido- Quigley (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Dr. Geoffrey Wong (University of Oxford), Dr. Madeleine Valera (DOH), and Dr. Oscar Picazo (Philippine Institute for Development Studies).

Dr. Geoffrey Wong (University of Oxford) gives an overview of the Philippines' UHC system. 

Dr. Kara Hanson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine discusses the UHC of 3 Asian countries, namely the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. 
At the end of the 4-day workshop, the researchers presented the synthesis of their findings, from UHC’s framework to population, service and cost coverage. They also gave their recommendations on how to address these gaps, like synchronization of policy formulation and implementation between organizations. Dr. Hanson also gave a presentation, comparing the Philippines’ UHC system with other countries. She noted how the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia have improved in terms of population coverage but show no changes for out-of-pocket payments. 

Panel of reactors includes  Usec. Lilibeth David (DOH), Mr. Ruben Basa (PhilHealth), Dr. Dale Huntington (Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Policy and Systems) and Dr. Mary Ann Lansang (UP Manila).

Workshop participants were researchers representing various health institutes: ASMPH; Ateneo de Zamboanga; Xavier University; UP Manila; Alliance of Improving Health Outcomes; United Nations Children’s Fund; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Liverpool John Moores University; Sheffeld Hallan University; University of Brighton; University of Nottingham; University of Oxford;  Swiss Tropical  and Public Health Institute; and Johns Hopkins University.