The Senate committee has already discussed bills aimed at establishing the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the medical reserve corps.
At the hearing, the Department of Health (DOH) and IATF made suggestions to further strengthen the bill.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the DOH recommended that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) be placed under the Office of the Health Secretary.
It will be headed by the director-general and has 2 deputy director-generals.
It also has an administrative and communications office.
It will establish an office for epidemiology and public health surveillance, a center for reference laboratories, a center for preparedness and response planning, and a center for health evidence.
Other DOH offices will be transferred to the CDC including the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
It will be converted as a premier facility for clinical laboratory, epidemiologic, and implementation research.
The CDC’s primary role is to prevent and control infectious and non-communicable diseases.
NTF against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said the national Health Security Bill will greatly help the implementation of the Universal Health Care System.
Development of PH’s own CDC supported by DOH, IATF
Based on 2016 data, the Philippines has the highest rate of infectious diseases in Southeast Asia while it is second in non-communicable diseases.
The Philippines also has the highest incidence of tuberculosis in Asia and third in the world.
The focus of the government right now is on the treatment of diseases and not on prevention.
He said the number of graduates with medical-related degrees in the country is declining.
More nurses are also flying overseas.
Given these shortcomings, Galvez recommended that the bill include the existence of a national health security policy and modernization plan.
He also said that the human resource will be strengthened by having a medical reserve corps, modernization of equipment, vaccine security, and even research and development.
He also said that the proposal to strengthen regional hospitals should be included.
Following the proposals, the DOH and NTF will convene a technical working group meeting to detail each suggestion and include it in the final version of the bill.