The people’s health and strengthening the public health system are among the most immediate areas needing attention by the Marcos administration since reeling the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
However, the Marcos administration is apparently showing little if no concern at all for public health. Pres. Marcos, who has been in office for almost a year, until now fails to appoint a Secretary of Health. What adds insult to injury is that his hands are seemingly full in appointing former police and military officials to key government posts including the Department of Health which undermines the importance of having expertise and experience in the field of public service, especially in public health.
While the Philippine government may argue that the appointment is necessary to address specific issues such as security and safety in health facilities, it is important to note that these issues can be addressed through a system of collaboration and coordination with law enforcement agencies that are already in place. What is lacking are individuals in government who have a clear vision, strong commitment, and demonstrated ability to make the system works effectively.
The appointment of individuals to key positions especially in the Department of Health must be based on their capability and commitment to improving public health outcomes. In a country where many people still suffer from preventable and treatable diseases, it is crucial to have leaders who can initiate and implement effective strategies to address health issues. They should be able to foster an environment of accountability, transparency, and good governance in the health sector.
The appointment by virtue of political favors sends a negative message to health professionals, who have dedicated their careers to advancing public health and improving healthcare outcomes. It shows that their expertise and contributions are undervalued and that their voices have no place in the decision-making processes. This highlights a more significant problem in the Philippines, where political appointments and connections often prevail over qualifications and merit which is only further eroding public trust in the government.
Improvement of health outcomes should be the priority rather than the giving of political favors.