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Francisco Duque III blasted for saying COVID-19 is a ‘blessing in disguise’

The UHC law is aiming to provide all Filipinos access to affordable but quality health services.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that COVID-19 might actually be a “blessing in disguise” since it put emphasis on the importance of introducing health reforms.

“This can also be some kind of a blessing in disguise, serendipitous. Kasi parang na-accelerate iyong universal healthcare because of COVID-19. It is a catalyst,” Duque said during a webinar hosted by the University of the Philippines.

“Although COVID-19 has exposed the fissures or the cracks, weakness of our health system, it has brought to (the) fore the areas, provisions of UHC that need to be accelerated in terms of their implementation.

“Let us broaden the context by which we are responding to the pandemic. And that context is universal healthcare,” he added.

Not a lot of people agree with Duque on this one.

The UHC law is aiming to provide all Filipinos access to affordable but quality health services. It also wants to have more patients in primary care instead of hospitals, steering away from “American style” wherein people look for treatment from more renowned hospitals.

The DOH says that skipping lower-level healthcare facilities will only cost more. The UHC system will make it possible for every Filipino to have a health worker whom they can contact whenever needed.

Duque also said that health workers and local governments have been ordered to do “active case finding” by monitoring the health conditions and compliance to minimum health standards of people in local communities.

The government has already set up a One Hospital Command Center to lessen the workload for hospitals and to provide health facility referrals for COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila. It also handles medical transport and patient pick-up arrangements.

Written by JO-EST B. TAN

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