The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA in partnership with the Institute of Philippine Culture – Ateneo de Manila University (IPC-ADMU) conducted a webinar on “UHC and the Transformations in the Health System: The MIMAROPA Experience” last September 22, 2020.

The webinar is part of the eTuro discussion series entitled “Sustaining the Conversation on COVID-19: How Do We Cope? The eturo Webinar Series on Engaging Communities and Networks” or “We CaN!!” that aims to provide relevant information to the public about recent local developments and efforts in the health sector particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to the so-called new normal.

Particularly, the “UHC and the Transformations in the Health System: The MIMAROPA Experience” aims to answer the question “How is the expected Universal Health Care (UHC) implementation in the MIMAROPA region affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?” by allowing some of the tireless frontliners in this battle, the local government units, to share their various responses and learnings gained working through the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar also outlined the potential that the COVID-19 crisis offers for building a healthier and safer MIMAROPA.

DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma Josefina P. Abilay talks about the importance of UHC and the different DOST initiatives during the pandemic


DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay opened the online event with a remarks emphasizing how the COVID-19 pandemic became an unprecedented catalyst of change and how the need for innovation is greater than ever. Dr. Abilay also showcased various DOST-MIMAROPA programs and initiatives implemented such as the deployment of online surveillance system FASSSTER and TanodCOVID, Specimen Collection Booths, and 3D printing of faceshields, among others, to contribute to the COVID-19 response. She also amplified the importance of universal health care in the region to gain access to a full continuum of health services and protecting the people from enduring more financial hardships.

Resource Persons Province of Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. (rightmost) and Odiongan, Romblon Mayor Trina Alejandra Firmalo- Fabic (middle) during the Q&A portion of the webinar facilitated by Dr. Enrique Leviste (leftmost)


Local Chief Executives Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Province of Marinduque and Mayor Trina Alejandra Firmalo-Fabic of the Municipality of Odiongan, Romblon served as the key resource persons during the webinar. Each of the LECs shared their respective health system infrastructures and preparations for the UHC implementation and health-and non-health related problems that arise and the major programs and responses of the LGU during the COVID-19 pandemic. The LCEs also shared how DOST-MIMAROPA programs and services were able to complement their efforts to create a socio-economic impact in their respective communities. The webinar ended with an open forum giving participants and resource persons to share and address their queries and concerns, most especially on topics related to health. The webinar was facilitated by Dr. Enrique Niño Leviste, Director of IPC-ADMU. A total of 505 international and local participants took part in the webinar.

The eHealth Training on Unified Resources Online (eTURO) is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and Ateneo de Manila University that aims to provide health-related training and education initiatives using technology-enabled learning methods to support capacity-building efforts and implementation of the National eHealth Program.