THE Department of Health (DOH) is seeking a P203.7-billion budget for 2021 to focus on the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law (UHCL) and strengthen the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The amount is 27 percent higher than DOH’s 2020 budget.

According to Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverden, the agency has an increased budget for the deployment of human resources for health (HRH).

"The 2021 budget, as proposed, is 27 percent higher than the 2020 budget level mainly due to the increase in the allocation for human resources for health," he said during the briefing of the House committee on health.

The official added that the agency's budget allocation for its deployment program was increased to P16.6 billion in 2021 from P9.95 billion this year.

There was also an increase in the allocation for medical assistance to indigent patients to P17.3 billion for next year from P10.5 billion this year.

Among the agency's priorities is the HRH employment for 2021.

Villaverden said the agency is planning to employ 23,364 doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists, nutritionist-dietitians, medical technologists, and physical therapists in 2021.

Meanwhile, the agency will allot P4.68 billion for the procurement of equipment for 1,633 health facilities such as polyclinic, local government hospitals, and DOH hospitals.

It will also allot P25 million for the procurement of ambulances and P82 million for monitoring and evaluation activities.

Sixty two percent of the total proposed budget is for the DOH - Office of the Secretary (DOH-OSEC), followed by 35 percent for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The DOH is seeking to allot at least P71.35 billion for PhilHealth, P1.77 billion for the Philippine Heart Center, P1.27 billion for the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, P1.04 billion for the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and P410 million for the Lung Center of the Philippines.

The Health agency is scheduled to present its budget proposal before the House committee on appropriations on September 14, 2020. (SunStar Philippines)