The Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO), the umbrella organization of patient groups representing 1 million patients, announced its new Board of Directors with the election of Karen Alparce-Villanueva as its new President.
Other board members include Chris Munoz as vice president, Ara Lanorio as secretary, Cynthia Magdaraog as treasurer, and trustees Einstein Rojas, Nelia Medina, and Mel Lamsin.
Girlie Garcia-Lorenzo, former president of PAPO, and Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, former administrator, will remain advisers.
PAPO works with patient communities and other key healthcare stakeholders to make their voices heard by everyone involved in healthcare, and the group advocates for patient-centred healthcare.
A patient-centric healthcare system is one where infrastructure is designed and delivered to meet the needs of patients. For example, patients need to be able to easily navigate the healthcare system in addition to helping reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
In 2019, two important laws were passed, marking the beginning of the much-needed transformation of the local health system.
The Universal Health Care (UHC) Act was designed to ensure equitable access to quality and affordable health services for all Filipinos. The National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) meanwhile aimed to tackle the growing burden of cancer, which is now the second biggest killer of Filipinos.
To date, rules and regulations implementing the two laws have been developed, but implementation has been slow and with COVID-19, the provision of free medical consultations and laboratory tests for the entire population was delayed.
PAPO has 3 focus areas, namely patients’ rights, patient involvement in policy-making and universal healthcare.
Patient rights – Patients have the right and responsibility to participate, according to their level of ability and preference, as partners in making health care decisions that affect their lives.
This requires a responsive health service that offers appropriate choices in treatment and management options that match patients’ needs, as well as encouragement and support for patients and caregivers who direct and manage care to achieve the highest quality. possible life.
Patient organizations must be empowered to play a meaningful leadership role in supporting patients and their families to exercise their right to make informed health care choices.
Patient participation in health policy – Patients and patient organizations deserve to share responsibility for shaping health policies through meaningful and sustained engagement at all levels and decision-making points, to ensure they are designed with the patient at the center. This should not be limited to health policy but include, for example, social policy which will ultimately have an impact on patients’ lives.
Universal health care – Patients must have access to health services justified by their condition. This includes access to safe, quality and appropriate services, treatment, preventive care and health promotion activities.
Arrangements should be made to ensure that all patients can access the necessary services, regardless of their condition or socio-economic status.
For patients to achieve the best possible quality of life, health care must meet their emotional needs and take into account non-health factors such as education, employment, and family issues that impact on their approach to healthcare choices and management.
PAPO will continue to work with other civil society organizations, government and the private sector to continue working for the well-being of patients.