The Government of the Philippines faces key challenges in its health sector that impede its ability to provide quality, accessible, and equitable healthcare to the over 100 million Filipinos living in the country. These challenges include global health crises and natural disasters, weak health systems performance, and gaps in the continuum of care. Underserved populations continue to suffer from a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB)—including multidrug-resistant TB; a concentrated HIV epidemic; rising infectious disease outbreaks—including measles, dengue, and zoonotic diseases; high unmet need for family planning; high teenage pregnancy rates; and preventable maternal and newborn deaths. Out-of-pocket expenditure still accounts for a significant proportion of health spending, putting Filipino families at risk for impoverishment when accessing health services. Cross-cutting issues like gender inequality and the impact of climate change also affect people’s access to quality healthcare.
To address these challenges, USAID works with the Philippine government to strengthen health systems, promote positive social norms and behaviors, and improve the quality of primary health care. USAID also supports national and local government in implementing the Universal Health Care Law by enhancing health leadership and governance, training healthcare workers, strengthening public financial management, improving supply chain management, refining health information systems, and expanding coverage of quality health services.
Expanding Access to Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program (RenewHealth)
In the Philippines, drug use is a national issue that impacts the health, social, and economic well-being of Filipinos. RenewHealth works in partnership with Philippine government agencies to improve the quality of community-based drug rehabilitation (CBDR) and recovery services, and ultimately reduce drug dependence in the Philippines. The project offers proven public health approaches to CBDR that persons who use drugs and their families can access without fear or prejudice. Working with the Philippine government and local stakeholders, the project enables healthy behaviors and demand for CBDR services; enhances the quality of patient-centered and compassionate CBDR services, and strengthens the policies and systems for sustainable CBDR service delivery. Having established the strong correlation between substance use and mental health issues, the project assists the Department of Health (DOH) in integrating mental health with substance use management and services. Mental health promotion and interventions are also being expanded to settings such as schools and workplaces.
Family Planning and Maternal and Neonatal Health Innovations and Capacity Building Platforms (ReachHealth)
ReachHealth strengthens and improves access to critical health services for Filipino families, reduces unmet need for family planning services, decreases teen pregnancy, and decreases newborn morbidity and mortality. To do this, the project improves individual, household and community knowledge and behaviors about family planning and maternal and neonatal health; increases access to comprehensive quality care, including lifesaving maternal and newborn services, and increases the capacity of providers to deliver this care; and strengthens health systems’ governance, finance, human resources, commodity availability, and data. Additionally, ReachHealth generates demand for family planning and maternal and neonatal health services and helps women, men, and adolescents overcome gender barriers. The project supports Philippine counterparts – primarily the Department of Health, Commission on Population and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, civil society, and the private sector – to identify and respond to local root causes of poor family planning and maternal and neonatal health outcomes. ReachHealth also implemented COVID-19 response activities, including acceleration of vaccine coverage at the national level and in COVID-19 hotspots in the country.
Health Equity and Financial Protection Platform (ProtectHealth)
ProtectHealth is improving financial protection and equitable access to essential health services to maximize health outcomes in tuberculosis, HIV, family planning, and reproductive health. The project strengthens and institutionalizes effective approaches and practices that support the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to address operational bottlenecks that impede effective implementation of health financing policies. The project also improves the institutional capacity of the two agencies to collect and use information to improve financing of tuberculosis, family planning, and reproductive health programs.
Local Works: Capacitating Strategic Organizations to Strengthen the Civil Society Organization Sector (CSO2)
USAID supports locally-led solutions to address persistent health, education, and socio-economic problems affecting individuals and communities. Diminishing foreign and local resources available to civil society organizations (CSOs) threaten the sector’s sustainability. CSO2 strengthens the capacity of CSOs using a “wholesale” approach. By working with larger, more influential networks and coalitions that can serve as local resource organizations, the project supports smaller CSOs to improve their organizational capacity and performance. CSO2 enables local actors to be more self-reliant, able to mobilize local resources, and less dependent on donor funding. The project also strengthens CSO sustainability by supporting local initiatives, resources, and action.
Medicine Technology and Pharmaceutical System Project (MTaPS)
Numerous studies have shown that a major barrier to improving health outcomes is the inefficient and fragmented supply chain management system at all levels of the health system. The Department of Health (DOH)has demonstrated its commitment to a more integrated supply management system. MTaPS assists the DOH in establishing a fully functional supply chain management system, from demand and supply planning to distribution and use at the point of care. The project also provides technical assistance to implement these changes while building on existing work to facilitate reliable and timely supply of family planning and tuberculosis medicines and commodities to health facilities. USAID and the DOH are also scaling up the electronic logistic information management systems (eLMIS), which serves as the DOH’s official platform for supply chain management.
Meeting Targets and Maintaining HIV Epidemic Control (EpiC HIV)
To control one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in Asia and the Pacific, EpiC works with the Philippine government and civil society to break through persistent barriers in diagnosing people living with HIV. USAID assistance is working to start and keep people living with HIV on life-saving treatment and ensuring that they are virally suppressed so they cannot pass the virus onto their loved ones. EpiC employs a range of differentiated, person-centered testing and treatment services that better respond to the needs of key populations who are disproportionately affected by HIV. It improves access to game-changing prevention and treatment interventions such as HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and the transition to optimized HIV treatment regimens. To ensure a sustainable national HIV response, EpiC provides site-, regional-, and central level support for policy development, continuous quality improvement, and strategic information.
TB Innovations and Health Systems Strengthening (TB Innovations)
Despite substantial progress in tuberculosis (TB) control over the past 15 years, TB remains a key public health problem in the country. Gaps in case detection and access to TB care services persist, causing the Philippines to rank among the countries with high TB burden. TB Innovations supports the Philippine government to end the TB epidemic by expanding state-of-the-art technologies and approaches for case detection, appropriate treatment seeking behavior, and treatment adherence interventions for vulnerable and high-risk populations. TB Innovations also assists the Department of Health to actively identify, develop, test, and scale-up innovative technologies and approaches adapted for the Philippines.
TB Platforms for Sustainable Detection, Care and Treatment (TB Platforms)
The Philippines remains among countries with the highest burden of TB and multidrug-resistant TB. Healthcare-seeking behavior of people with symptoms suggestive of TB remains low, and approximately 35 percent of TB-affected households face severe financial difficulties. Government efforts to fight TB need to be coupled with local capacity building, system strengthening and community engagement, including the private sector. TB Platforms strengthens essential supportive and cross-cutting TB interventions at the provincial, local government, and community levels to increase TB and drug-resistant TB case detection and treatment success rates.