OBApproaches in the Philippines: Public Health Project

In 2010, the Government of the Philippines launched Universal Health Care initiative, which mandated the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to provide health insurance coverage to all Filipinos, especially the poor. It also put in place measures to improve and accredit healthcare facilities countrywide. However, access to accredited healthcare providers and to health insurance has remained a challenge for the poor due to lack of financial resources, low levels of awareness, and the geographic remoteness of facilities in rural areas. Access was also hampered by low uptake among the local government units responsible for enrolling poor constituents into the insurance program.

In 2012, the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) approved a grant of $3.6 million for this public health project to improve access to and uptake of quality health services, particularly in the areas of maternal and reproductive health, over a four-year period. The following note discusses the project's design, challenges specific to the operating environment, and the potential for incentives to trigger changes in health care services and outcomes, as well as beneficiary behavior.