The Government of the Philippines is planning to allocate approximately PHP22.98bn ($404.1m) in 2024 to enhance the nation’s healthcare facilities and services, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was cited as saying by the Philippine News Agency.

This budget is part of the 2024 National Expenditure Program and will support the Department of Health’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP).

DBM stated: “The HFEP’s total allocation — PHP22,983,872,000 in all — will be specifically directed towards building, upgrading, and expanding government-run health care facilities all across the country.

“The allocation will also allow for the purchase of hospital equipment and medical transport vehicles.”

The HFEP will focus on Universal Health Care sites and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas, with the goal of upgrading essential facilities to fight Covid-19 and help ongoing project construction.

Implemented by the Department of Health, the HFEP aims to enhance basic, essential, and specialised health services by revitalising primary healthcare facilities and rationalising hospitals to reduce the burden on referral hospitals.

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DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman stated that the budget would contribute to raising healthcare standards across the nation, considering the recent problems that have affected the healthcare system.

She stated: “The proposed budget for FY (fiscal year) 2024 reflects our commitment to strengthening the fundamental pillars of our healthcare system.

“With an allocated PHP22.98bn, DOH’s HFEP will continue to lead the way in scaling up the nation’s healthcare facilities, a crucial aspect underpinning the realisation of the Philippine Health Agenda.”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. emphasised the importance of fortifying the nation’s health infrastructure to ensure the government can respond effectively to future health crises by investing in modern medical facilities, expanding healthcare access, and deploying healthcare professionals.