Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, has expressed his concern about the alarming increase in Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases in the country.
While noting that there is sufficient funding to raise awareness and fight the spread of HIV and AIDS, Go emphasized the need for more interventions to better address possible gaps in the implementation of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act.
“Ang apela ko po — bilang Chairperson po ng Committee on Health, at miyembro rin po ako, ex-officio member po ako ng Philippine National AIDS Council — to come up with a strategic plan to address the gaps in the implementation of the HIV law,” he said in an ambush interview after personally aiding flood victims in Davao City on Friday, 17 March.
According to the Department of Health, there were 1,454 new HIV cases reported in January 2023 alone, with an average of 46 new cases per day.
However, what is even more concerning is that 86 of these cases were among adolescents and children, with seven cases reported in children less than 10 years old.
“Nakakabahala po ito… lalo na ‘yung mga naapektuhan ngayon ay 19 years old and younger. Ang babata pa nito. May less than ten years old pa na seven cases,” Go said.
The government has allocated a budget of P1.433 billion for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, with P590 million allocated in 2022, according to the senator.
In the proposed budget for 2023, P43 million was allotted to the Philippine National AIDS Council, which was increased to P52 million in the approved General Appropriations Act.
“May sapat na pondo po na labanan po itong paglaganap nitong sakit na AIDS,” Go reiterated.
To end, the senator said everyone should take responsibility for their own health and well-being, and for the health of their fellow Filipinos. He also called for support for the government in its efforts to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS.
In a bid to combat various diseases, Go has been championing the cause for enhanced healthcare accessibility in the Philippines. Apart from the existing Malasakit Centers and Super Health Centers, he has been actively advocating for the establishment of specialty centers outside of Metro Manila in line with the priorities of the present administration.
According to Go, setting up these specialty healthcare facilities is one of the most effective measures to bridge the gaps in specialized medical services across the country.
Moreover, the establishment of specialty centers is included in the health-related legislative agenda outlined in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which was approved and signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
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