Devolution of Health Services in the Time of Pandemic: Implications of Challenges and Strategies to the Philippine Health Devolution
Despite being considered the most aggressive in the Asia-pacific region, the Philippine
health devolution has many deficits, particularly financial and personnel resources.
Therefore, it becomes a problem to address health issues during the pandemic. This study sought to investigate the implications of challenges and strategies adapted by LGU of the Province of Bukidnon to the nature of Philippine health devolution in the pandemic. This research utilized the qualitative method, conducting open-ended interviews with the provincial health administrator and with the chief of the COVID-19 facility in the province. Also, online news articles and government websites such as their Facebook pages were accessed to provide additional data for the study. The study found that the lack of health facilities is primarily experienced during the pandemic. The mismatch of funding with the cost of the devolved health services and functions to the LGUs becomes apparent during this global health crisis. However, the study also revealed that the power and authority to perform specific roles and responsibilities at the local level allow public health officials to address local conditions. The ability of the local officials to coordinate with private sectors and the
other LGUs and their capacity to look into local conditions and have a vast decision space allow them to manage local health problems. This article argues for more effective health governance mechanisms at the local level since devolution itself does not ensure better health-care delivery.