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BARMM official lists region’s prime health concern

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DAVAO CITY – The Bangsamoro health minister has identified tuberculosis (TB), poverty and implemention of the Universal Health Care (UHC) as the primordial health issues to be addressed with outside development agencies.

Health Minister Dr. Rizaldy Piang said tuberculosis (TB) programming, supporting poverty improvement, and UHC funding in the Bangsamoro region are the primary areas for “essential interventions that could be the priority health programs”.

Piang raised the three issues as the Ministry of Health (MOH) welcomed the visit of the US-Philippines Society “with high hopes that the partnership will soon be realized for the welfare of the Bangsamoro people”.

The US-Philippines Society paid a courtesy visit to Piang on February 1 in Cotabato City.

The meeting with Piang “discussed the current health programs of the MOH and sought possible health development partnerships and collaborative projects to be implemented in the Bangsamoro region,” the Bangsamoro Information Office said.

The delegation was headed by Mr. Earl Gast, president of the University Research Company LLC (URC),  who emphasized that the group’s programs mainly focuses on family planning and responsible parenthood.

“We will share best practices based on our expert experiences and we will provide technical guidance for assuring a quality improvement approach of health in the region,” Gast said.

“The beauty of collaborative efforts in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) project could fill the gaps with the important participation of influencers at all levels such as religious, government, and social media influencers pushing the messages in educating young women and families as well,” Gast added.

He added that in health services, “The Ulama and Mufti play a big role in the campaign to achieve successful programs in the region”.

The US-Philippines Society is based in Washington D.C., “and builds on the rich and longstanding historical ties of the said country and the Philippines”. The group was founded by the late Roberto Romulo and it is currently chaired by business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan.

The group’s membership is composed of ambassadors and prominent business owners and philanthropists in the US and the Philippines.

The group’s visit in BARMM was composed of former US Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas Hubbard, US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson, US Education Finance Group President Henry Howard, US-Philippines Society President Ambassador John Maisto, Chevron Phils. Country President Billy Liu, Philippine Ecozone Authority Deputy Director General Aleem Guiapal, USAID-BARMM Health Chief of Party Dr. Moh Shan Abdulwahid, and USAID-BARMM Health Communication Adviser Tessa Reyes-Sevilla.

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