Secretary’s Cup: Asia 21 Philippines Collaboration

To achieve a healthy nation, policy makers must look at how different sectors of society interact to achieve sustainable health gains. The complexities and often, the misconceived notion that health lies only in the clinics, can put many Filipinos at risk of ignorance to important health reforms that are shaping the health care status of the country.

With this in mind, to support the vision and mission of the Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines to spread awareness on the Aquino administration’s “Kalusugan Pangkahalatan” (KP or Universal Health Care), the Universal Health Care (UHC) study group of the University of the Philippines saw the need to design and implement a program that will bring forth the health discussions to several sectors of society.

Under the guidance and support of the DOH and UHC study group, Asia 21 Fellow Dr. Bryan Albert Lim (A21 Fellow, New Delhi 2011), a member of the study group, teamed up with his fellow Asia 21 Young Leaders: Alvin Dakis (A21 Delegate, New Delhi 2011), Atty. Damcelle Torres (A21 Young Leader, Singapore 2007), Atty. Darwin Mariano (A21 Delegate, Kuala Lumpur 2009), and Tj Tijam (A21 Young Leader, Singapore 2007) and came up with a unique set of strategies to enhance the discussions of universal health care. Thus the Secretary’s Cup was born.

Asia 21 Philippines Young Leaders, from left to right: Alvin Dakis, DAmcelle Torres, Bryan Lim, TJ Tijam. Not in photo: Darwin Mariano

Asia 21 Philippines Young Leaders, from left to right: Alvin Dakis, DAmcelle Torres, Bryan Lim, TJ Tijam. Not in photo: Darwin Mariano

The Secretary’s Cup employs four strategies: intercollegiate-debates, community town hall meetings, health talk series by former DOH secretaries, and round table discussions with cabinet members and media. The intercollegiate-debates were hosted by 6 different schools involving 96 debate teams from different universities and colleges from August 2012 through March 2013. Important issues that revolve around the 6 building blocks of universal health care (governance, health financing, health service delivery, information system, health human resource, health regulation) were discussed.

For the last 6 months, the Secretary’s Cup team went to 9 different provinces where focused group discussions were conducted with the local people to discuss the different issues regarding KP. Through these meetings, people’s perspectives, fears, and opinions on what KP should be were elicited

The Secretary’s Cup is a continuing advocacy campaign. The outputs of all the proceedings will be submitted to the Department of Health in the Philippines and related agencies in the form of policy recommendations. Beyond this, it is the hope of the campaign to be a catalyst in the discussion of health issues and create a constituency of informed health care advocates around the country. As a sequel, the Health System Shapers Program will be launched this year. It aims to gather leaders involved in UHC work and plot future directions for the health care system of the country.

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