PhllHealth fully understands the sentiments of our OFWs regarding the Increase In premiums. We have explored several posslbllltles to cushion the Impact of the increase through flexible payment terms that are embodied In the recently published Clrcular. The Increased premium rates from 2.7596 to 3% in 2020 is in accordance with specific provlslons of Republic Act 11223 otherwise known as the Universal Health Care Act of 2019. These premium rates were announced last year in PhilHealth Circular No. 2019—0009 published In Nov. 23, 2019 entltled ’Premium Contribution Schedule in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP)’ and further clarified by the recently published PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014.

The purpose of the Universal Health Care Act, as in other societies with the same program, 1s to provide affordable and adequate healthcare to all Filipinos. Such a program requires funding collected through premium contributions. In 2019, forty-four percent (4496) of the premiums were subsidized by the national government while the balance was collected from Individual members and their employers, where OFWs are counted. Benefits-wise, 369f› of beneficiaries were from the informal and private sector while 3796 were accounted for from the lndigents and senior citizens whose premiums were paid by the national government.

In the past some 10 to 12 million Filipinos — almost 12% of the national population – availed of health services from PhilHealth annually, ranging from natural childbirth to kidney transplants. Last year, with a collection from OFWs amounting to P 1.02 Billion (comprising 196 of premiums from direct contributors), OFWs claimed P 1.7 Billion in benefits with 699£ of claims attributed to their dependents in the country while 319a was claimed by overseas OFWs. Under the UHC Act, benefit coverage is planned to be increased and expanded so that more Flllplnos can be served better. This is the fundamental basis for the premium increase. These ambitious health goals must be supported by adequate funding collected through Increased premium rates.

Year 1 of UHC coincided with the unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 pandemlc. Even wealthy nations — nations with highly vaunted health systems – are struggling to protect their citizens. The Philippines has not been spared from this scourge. To

Recagnlzlng that everyone Is cash-strapped durlng these difficult times, and In the spirit of the. .
.’ . recently passed” !\.. A. 11469 or the Bayanlhan We Heal As One Law which is. governments the covld 19 pandemlc, PhlllJealth has adopted a flexible payment scheme which will allow OFWs -,and ali other dlrectly paylng seP-employed members – to pay their cóntributiońs withln .the year. As an agency of government, sensitive to the welfare and well-being of ali
. Filipinos, PhilHealth commlu to continue to explore means to soften and alleviate the Impact of
. ‘ premium rate. increase, but it cannot change the Law.

DOST funds development of ventilator suitable for COVID-19 treatment

With the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) together with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is looking for designs of ventilators and respirators to augment the health care system grapple with COVID-19 patients needing these medical devices.
“As a leader in enabling scientific solutions through R&D, the DOST-PCIEERD together with PCHRD opens its doors to our innovators and researchers to share their innovations that will ultimately aid our government respond better to the pandemic and contribute to the healing of our nation,” said DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico Paringit.
Paringit said the prototype must be made from medical-grade materials and components and should have an assist control (AC) mode, tidal volume, back-up or respiratory rate (RR), inspiration: expiration (I:E) ratio, fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2), alarms, and humidifier.
DOST-PCIEERD will support activities related to design and development, prototyping, fabrication and assembly of the prototype, simulation, pre-accreditation testing and calibration in collaboration with the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) of the DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) and testing by an accredited inspection body of the government.
Concept proposals, including preliminary works done, description of design, workplan, deliverables, with a letter of intent from the medical expert or hospital, and the budget should be sent through email at on or before 28 April 2020.
For projects/prototypes that passed industrial standards, DOST-PCHRD will support the conduct of the clinical trials and other clinical acceptance protocols.
DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stressed the importance of evaluating the safety and efficacy of the ventilators. He said, “Ventilators are vital in ensuring that our patients, especially those confined in the ICU, are given the maximum care and support they need to recover. Aside from addressing the need to secure more ventilator units, we also have to make sure that the equipment we produce or procure are reliable and efficient.”
Upon submission of proposal to DOST-PCHRD, the proponent must have partnered with medical experts, secured an ethics clearance from an institution capable of conducting clinical trials, and identified industry partner/s with a License-to-Operate (LTO) certificate from the Food and Drugs Administration – Philippines for mass production. (S&T Media Service/Source:PCIEERD)
DOST Pack of Hope offers hunger relief for frontliners during COVID-19 ECQ

“While freshly cooked food prepared in mobile kitchen are susceptible to contamination and spoilage if not properly handled during distribution, these Pack of Hope (POH) ready-to-eat (RTE) food products are safe, that’s why they’re very beneficial for medical workers and men in uniform in the check points. The product can be eaten directly from the pouch,” says Daisy Tañafranca, head of the Packaging Technology Division (PTD) of the Department of Science and Technology- Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), on the use of RTE food during COVID-19 Expanded Community Quarantine (ECQ).

As one calamity survivor who tasted the POH-RTE said, the taste is very acceptable ‘hindi lasang relief’ and very convenient because it is ready to eat, easy to open and no preparation and cooking needed.

Demand for the POH is high because it has a stable shelf life and it has passed the safety protocols set by both the local and international offices of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Approximately 245,000 ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken arroz caldo and 42,000 RTE smoked fish rice meals had already been distributed to calamity survivors since the Pack of Hope RTE technology was adopted in 2015. The POH RTE food developed by DOST-ITDI are being used as relief and emergency food in any type of calamities.

During the COVID-19 ECQ late last March, samples of RTE chicken arroz caldo were deployed in five cities in NCR- Taguig, Pasig, San Juan, Manila and Quezon- to augment the cities’ program in providing food packs to their constituents. Each city received 100 boxes each (3,000 pouches) of RTE chicken arroz caldo.

The DSWD in Cebu used the RTE smoked fish rice meal and chicken arroz caldo as emergency food for fire victims and in Davao for their feeding program.