Health workers in the Philippines are up in arms against the government’s attempt to privatize public hospitals. They say privatization of public hospitals will further marginalize the poor since private investors will think first of profit before service.
On May 7, G3W’ s partner, The Council for Health and Development (CHD), together with health workers from various organizations, marked the celebration of National Health Workers Day with a protest-rally to oppose the privatization of government hospitals.
The privatization of government hospitals is part of the Department of Health’s strategy to modernize the country’s public hospitals through the public-private partnership program (PPP) of the government, a flagship program of President Aquino’s administration.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona was quoted as saying that all government-run hospitals in the country are candidates for PPP as part of the government’s program to reform the health system.
Lack of funds, the health department claims, is the main reason the government has opened up the modernization of public hospitals to private investors.
But critics are saying that since the last two decades the government has been trying to privatize hospitals to cover up its failure to adequately fund public hospitals and provide free health services to the people, especially the poor.