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Integration of Palliative Care into the Philippine Health System

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In 2015, the National Policy on Palliative and Hospice Care in the Philippines was developed in response to the 67th WHA Resolution: Strengthening of Palliative Care as a Component of Comprehensive Care Throughout the Life Course. In 2019, the two landmark laws in Philippine public health were enacted, namely: (1) National Integrated Cancer Control Act, wherein palliative care was mentioned in its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) twenty-four (24) times and (2) Universal Health Care Act, wherein palliative care was mentioned in its IRR five (5) times. In 2021, Palliative and Hospice Care (PHC) became an integral component of our national health systems, across disease groups, all age groups and all levels of care through the primary and health care delivery networks, with the issuance and publication of the first edition of Manual of Operations, Procedures and Standards (MOPS) for National Palliative and Hospice Care Program including the basic and intermediate training modules. The MOPS aims to: Guide the program implementers, health care practitioners, and other allied health workers with the proper procedures and standards in terms of implementation of palliative and hospice care on different service delivery frameworks and respective areas of practice; Capacitate the Centers for Health Development, DOH hospitals, and other partners and stakeholders in the provision of palliative and hospice care through awareness and training; Strengthen collaboration, referral, and networking with stakeholders in the provision of palliative and hospice care to patients with life-threatening and/or life-limiting illnesses; and Improve the quality of life of patients at any age with life-threatening and/or life-limiting illnesses at all levels of care until end-of-life and bereavement care of the families. The Department of Health (DOH) and its reliable partners like Hospice Philippines, Philippine Cancer Society, Philippine Society of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Pain Society of the Philippines, and other stakeholders are all in this together towards the progressive realization of our very own Universal Health Care.

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