“Bridging the Health Care Gaps in Mindanao,” An Online Forum


UP Mindanao hosted the online forum and consultation on “Bridging the Health Care Gaps In Mindanao” on 14 October 2020 for some 96 or more public health personnel, guests, and university constituents who attended through teleconferencing and social media platforms. The forum consultation is part of the plan to establish a UP Mindanao College of Medicine.

UP Mindanao Chancellor Larry Digal gave the Opening Remarks that provided the context for a UP Mindanao medical education program.

Dr. Ramon Pedro Paterno, a member of the Universal Health Care Study Group and past president of the Philippine Academic Society of Community Medicine, spoke of the current public health system and the Universal Health Care law in “The Ideal Set-up of Universal Health Care.”

Department of Health former secretary, Dr. Paulynn Ubial, shared her perspectives and initiatives during her time as health secretary through her talk “Health Programs, Operations, and System Gaps.”

Dr. Annabelle Yumang, DOH-XI regional director, provided updates at the national and regional level on “Current Situation of Public Health and Primary Care” and on community-oriented medical education.

Two parallel break-out sessions allowed the health workers to share their inputs, co-facilitated by Senior Lecturer Anne Shangrila Fuentes of the Department of Social Sciences and Dr. Lyre Anni Murao of the Department of Biological Science and Environmental Studies. The health workers conveyed their employment and budget circumstances and other observations, and the physicians also shared their experiences.

Finally, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, Executive Vice-President of the University of the Philippines and Adviser to the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), spoke on health systems, governance, and the national COVID-19 response strategy in his talk, “Health System Governance and Infrastructure Gaps.”

Prof. Nilo Oponda, UP Mindanao Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and lead organizer of the forum, in his Closing Remarks, said, “The output of this forum will be used as input to the next, where we shall discuss the medical school curricular templates and facility requirements, a workshop for the curriculum and facilities, and how we are going to get the resources for the establishment of the UP Mindanao College of Medicine.”

“No longer a dream,” said EVP Herbosa, “but a goal.”
The proposed College of Medicine originates from Republic Act 7889, the law that created UP Mindanao, which states that a “medical program shall adopt a community-relevant step-ladder approach with the view of encouraging graduates to serve in Mindanao.” The initiative also addresses the dire shortage of medical doctors in Mindanao.

The forum may be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/UPMindanao/videos/1425891444282588/

(This was originally posted on the UP Mindanao website on October 15, 2020)

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