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PIA Press Release

JICA-assisted Benguet project on second year of implementation

by SC Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (13 August) -- Now on its second year of implementation, the P125 million five–year project on strengthening provincial local health systems aimed to improve the quality of health services in the province is smooth sailing.

Consultant for primary health care Makoto Tobe said the first year of project implementation is doing well with the initial release of P5 million worth of equipment, a training on Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) and the formulation of various health plans for the project components.

The technical assistance project, which started March last year and expected to end 2011, is a grant under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with consultants from System Science Consultants, Inc. (SSC). The province's counterpart is human resources and operating expenses.

As basis in pushing through with the project, it was found out that there was prevalence of life-style related diseases, infectious diseases and malnutrition. Accordingly, 30 to 50 percent of the provincial budget is spent for health but allocation is still insufficient for stable drug supply and health personnel.

It was also found out that there are gaps in administration capabilities for health service delivery among local government units. Accessibility to health service is influenced by geographical, economic and cultural aspects

The provincial government is implementing the project through the provincial health office benefiting the clustered Integrated Local Health Zones (ILHZs).

The four ILHZ are as follows: the BLIIST area composed of Benguet General Hospital, La Trinidad, Itogon Rural Health Unit, Itogon Municipal Hospital, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay; Mt. Trail ILHZ composed of Atok, Buguias, Mankayan, Bakun; KKK ILHZ which comprise Kapangan Rural Health Unit, Kibungan and Kapangan Community Hospital; and the other cluster composed of Bokod, Kabayan, and Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital.

The project is expected to come up with five outputs or components such as establishment of support system in providing better quality of health service, a strengthened health governance or management, a strengthened financial healthcare system, a review of the overall drug supply system, and the sharing of information and experiences.

Acting Provincial Health Officer Dr. Norma Pacalso admitted that even as the health system is in place, its implementation is at slow pace. But with the advent of the project, quality of health services will be enhanced which is its overall goal.

Pacalso said the ILHZ was an old concept clustering contiguous areas that complement each other. During the time of then Governor Raul Molintas, a memorandum of agreement was forged among mayors within the composite zone. The purpose of which was to fast track the strengthening of the health system with the end in view of improving the province's health status.

Also conducted was a survey which serves as a baseline data for project indicators to determine the overall health condition of the project.

There was also a study tour in Southern Leyte to observe the possible replication of good health practices if applicable in the province according to Consultant for Local Health Administration Dr. Teresita Bonoan.

Provincial officials led by Governor Nestor Fongwan were briefed on the project concept last Friday. (PIA-Benguet) [top]

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