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Enabling Healthcare Access in the Philippines
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Enabling Healthcare Access in the Philippines


Programme Partner: CareSpan Asia & (Temasek Foundation)

Region: The Philippines

60 million Filipinos experience healthcare poverty. Millions live a considerable distance from the nearest clinic, lack sufficient health literacy, and cannot afford the cost of healthcare. This is common in rural areas but also present in urban slums. The local Barangay Health Centres struggle with lack of resources ranging from shortages of doctors and nurses to inadequate supply of equipment and medicines.

To improve the quality of basic healthcare as well as make it more accessible and affordable, the Philippine Government rolled out Universal Health Care (UHC) in 2019. UHC provides additional funding for the Barangay Health Centres, managed by the Local Government Unit (LGU) to implement: 1) telehealth to overcome the shortage of doctors 2) electronic medical records (EMR) to provide up-to-date health information 3) higher subsidies for poor patients and 4) purchase more medicines and supplies. Carespan Asia’s digital health platform is one of few approved for UHC by PhilHealth (owned by Department of Health). However, UHC funding is conditional. The local government unit must successfully enrol a citizen before making a claim. To do so, LGUs need upfront capital and expertise to outreach to citizens and to implement the required digital health platforms. Funding is required for a period of time to reach economies of scale – when sufficient citizens are onboarded to reach financial sustainability.

The proposed pilot programme introduces a new model which brings together multiple stakeholders in a PPP (Public-Private-Philanthropic) partnership to drive change and onboard 700,000 underserved Filipinos to UHC. Led by Carespan Asia, a social enterprise based in the Philippines, the partnership will include Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation to enhance outreach and education to underserved Filipinos. Carespan Asia will implement telehealth and EMR, paid for by LGUs through reimbursements from PhilHealth. Using blended finance, funders provide a recoverable grant which will be repaid once the project is financially sustainable.

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