THE International Finance Corp. (IFC) and two arms of the Singapore government said they are backing projects to help ensure the efficient rollout of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law via the design of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

At the launch of Department of Health’s (DoH) first PPP program for UHC, IFC Country Manager in the Philippines Yuan Xu said: “Expanding access to health is a central element for any strategy to alleviate and reduce poverty. Health care is a basic human need and it is crucial to (nurturing) human capital.”

She added, “Access to affordable, quality health care is critical to economic growth and development. Poor health hinders economic growth. Every year, 100 million people (all over the world) fall below the poverty line as a result of health care costs.”

On Tuesday, the DoH launched the PPP program alongside the IFC, Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), and Temasek Foundation (TF), and the University of the Philippines (UP).

The program covers PPPs that will help meet the objectives of UHC and provide an avenue for the Philippines and Singapore to discuss PPPs especially for the health sector.

TF, a unit of the Singapore government investment fund Temasek Holdings, will be supporting the program via the donation of 582,282 Singapore dollars — around P21 million — while IFC and the DoH will be co-funding the program.

SCE assists foreign governments in achieving their development objectives, tapping the city-state’s public sector expertise.

Health Undersecretary Lilibeth C. David said partnerships will create opportunities to establish strategies for UHC that are cost-effective, competitive, and innovative.

“DoH recognizes the creativity of the private sector in providing innovative solutions to health care challenges and also their efficiency to address people’s health care needs,” she said at the launch. — Gillian M. Cortez