Rizal Hall, Malacañang
2 July 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III launched the Department of Health’s Rotavirus vaccine campaign and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) Type Z Benefit Package that will protect the poorest Filipino children and families and give them the much needed healthcare services.

Under DOH’s national immunization program for children, the campaign for rotavirus vaccination is set to initially benefit 700,000 newborns alone this year from families listed in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s National Household Targeting System (NHTS).

“We are doing all these because we want to be prepared for this recurring threat; because we want to diminish the danger that this condition poses to our children; and because we want to lessen the burden on our people who should not have to worry about their children dying from a highly treatable disease like diarrhea,” said President Aquino in his keynote speech.

The rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children below five years of age. In the Philippines alone, over 3,500 cases lead to infant deaths annually.

PhilHealth’s Type Z Benefit Package, meanwhile, is a benefit package for victims with catastrophic illnesses. For the first time in its history, PhilHealth now provides benefits that can cover the treatment of diseases that cost roughly 100 thousand to 200 thousand pesos.

“For 2012, PhilHealth has allotted 3 billion pesos for the Z-Benefit package, 1.3 billion pesos of which will be used for the treatment of 12,000 people afflicted with either breast cancer, childhood leukemia, or prostate cancer. That’s 12,000 fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters whom we are helping directly and whose families need not become mired in debt. Before, the poorest of the poor could not even visit hospitals or see doctors; now, we have found a way for them to receive full treatment for the most debilitating illnesses, while sparing them the financial burden. And this is the only initial implementation of the program,” the President said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona, PHilHealth president Eduardo Banzon, World Health Organization country representative Dr. Soe Nyunt U, United Nations Children’s Fund chief of Health and Nutrition Willibald Zek were among those who joined the President during the occasion.

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