Universal Health Care (UHC) and Access to Medicines

     Universal Health Care (UHC) is the call and commitment of the Philippine Government to ensure that every Filipino has access to quality and affordable health care. In 2011, the Department of Health announced its goal to achieve UHC by 2016 under the flagship program of President Benigno Aquino III known as Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP) focusing on improving access to health care services and reducing poverty from catastrophic healthcare expenditures especially for the poor and most vulnerable population.

     The Philippine agenda to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC), also referred to as Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP), is defined as the "provision to every Filipino of the highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitability distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed, and a appropriately used by an informed and empowered public". The Aquino administration puts it on top of the socioeconomic agenda to improve the heatlh and quality of life of all Filipinos.

UHC's Three Thrusts

    To attain UHC, the DOH defined three strategic thrusts to be pursued from 2011-2016, namely: 1) Achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of improving maternal and child health and combating priority infectious and non-communicable diseases; 2) Provide financial risk protection through expansion in the enrollment and benefit delivery of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP); and 3) Improve access to quality health care which includes the upgrading of public hospital and health facilities, ensuring adequate health human resources and securing the availabilty of essential medicines.

UHC and the Philippine Medicines Policy

    In line with the goal of providing equitable access to medicines for all Filipinos and attain UHC by 2016 the Philippine Medicines Strategy was adopted in 2011 anchored on the following key principles:

  • Access to medicines forms part of the fulfillment of the human right to health where government plays a primary responsibility;
  • Medicines are important in a well-functioning health care system as they contribute to the achievement of the broader health objectives of reducing morbidity, mortality and burden disease;
  • The state plays the primary role in the progressive realization of equitable access to medicines for all its citizens, especially the poor. Filipinos shall not be denied access to treatment nor become impoverished because of the high cost of medicines.
  • The government, in partnership with all sectors, shall endeavor to provide access of individuals and the community to medicines and promote their rational use at all levels of care at all times.

The Global Dialogue on Access to Medicines (ATM)

     In June 2013, the Philippines was among the nine countries (Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopa, Ghana, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Philippines and South Africa) which participated in an international policy dialogue entitled "Universal Health Care and Access to Medicines" held in Washington DC. The dialogue was organized by the Management Sciences for Health , the Rockefeller Foundation and Harvard Medical School.

     During the dialogue, the Philippine delegation led by Undersecretary Madeleine Valera, FDA Director General Kenneth Hartigan-Go and Philhealth President and CEO Alexander Padilla share the country's initiatives to provide universal access to medicines and learned from the experiences of other countries facing diverse challenges in implementing pharmaceutical reforms including issues in the quality and safety of medicines, problems in the supply and distribution chain, the high cost of innovator products, irrational use of medicines, unethical promotions and lack of transparent and accountable systems in public sector procurement.


 View the DOH KP Dashboard

 Download the pdf version of Administrative Order No. 2010-0036.

 Download the pdf version of Department Order No. 2011-0188

 See other topics:

 Policy Dialogue on Universal Health Care and Access to Medicines

 Government Initiatives to pursue UHC

 The Philippine Medicines Policy “The Philippine Strategy for Universal Access to Medicines”

 National Objectives for health 2011-2016 (Chapter 2)