3rd District LGUs strengthen inter-local health zone

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez (center) leads the signing of a memorandum of agreement for inter-local government unit cooperation with E.B. Magalona Councilor Edgardo Agravante Jr., Silay City Mayor Joedith Gallego, Murcia Mayor Victor Gerardo Rojas, and Talisay City Assistant Administrator Ismael Penado (l-r).*Nanette L. Guadalquiver/PNA photo

Five local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Monday, January 29, to strengthen their inter-local health zone (ILHZ) in line with the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

Parties to the agreement included the cities of Talisay, Silay, and Victorias, as well as the municipalities of E.B. Magalona and Murcia, in the province’s third district.

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez said the inter-LGU cooperation is not just compliance with the UHC Act but a partnership needed to address local health concerns.

“We bring our local chief executives together and, also, our city and municipal health officers in coordination with the Department of Health and the hospitals to find what is really needed for the concerns of our constituents related to health and to find ways on how to solve them,” he added.

Aside from Benitez, the signatories who attended the signing rites held at Maria Kucina Familia restaurant in Bacolod City were mayors Joedith Gallego of Silay City and Victor Gerardo Rojas of Murcia, and Talisay City Mayor Nilo Jesus Antonio Lizares III and E. B. Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon represented by Assistant City Administrator Ismael Penado and Edgardo Agravante Jr., respectively.

Through the agreement, the LGUs recognize that the UHC Act seeks to address health system fragmentation and reorient the health system towards primary care strengthening, primarily through integrating local health systems.

They also recognize that integrating the local health system is a strategy in which LGUs agree to take shared responsibility for how collective resources are organized, managed, delivered, and financed.

The cooperation aims to ensure the accessibility of essential quality health products and services at the appropriate level of care, strengthen the LGU leadership and management capacities to organize, and implement the integrated management support systems.

Its purpose is also to provide policy directions and technical support to community groups on the planning and implementing health programs and services.

Benitez stressed the importance of measures to prevent health problems.

Gallego and Rojas also cited the rise in teenage pregnancies and HIV-AIDS that must be addressed.

Adrian Hort Ramos, development management officer IV of the Department of Health-Western Visayas, said at this point, the UHC Act is at the functionality level for all provinces and cities identified as implementation sites.

“We are here together to work hand in hand to strengthen the health service delivery in our district. Our ILZH will share resources later on. The benefit of this is it will help our service delivery more people-centered,” he added.

Ramos said that in Negros Occidental, the Provincial Health Board has also agreed to create the sub-provincial health system, where all the six congressional districts will be grouped into three systems to create a strong health provider network.*PNA

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