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The United States Agency for International Development, through its ReachHealth project, and the Department of Health Central Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH CVCHD) recently launched the 2nd edition of the regional health referral system manual of operations.

The manual contains guidance on implementing the region’s upgraded referral system, ensuring strong collaboration among healthcare providers, local governments, and other healthcare organizations. It draws on the lessons learned from the 2015 edition and adapted to the current realities and needs of the stakeholders. Since 2015, the regional referral system has helped more than 3,000,000 people from the Central Visayas access quality primary care services and lifesaving telemedicine.

USAID supported the DOH CVCHD in reviewing its referral system processes and writing, editing, and publishing the 2nd edition of the manual.

“USAID stands proud to be part of this endeavor towards seamlessly providing healthcare for Filipinos. Rest assured, USAID will continue to work with the DOH CVCHD and its partners in further strengthening the region’s health system in pursuit of the vision of the UHC Law,” said USAID Philippines Office of Health Deputy Director Dr. Yolanda Oliveros.

The updated manual also reflects the bold innovations of the DOH CVCHD in realizing functional health referral systems at the regional, provincial, and city levels – pioneering electronic referrals, 711 Healthline, and life-saving telemedicine services.

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Chiefs of DOH-retained hospitals, health officers of the Central Visayas municipalities/ cities, members of the Regional Technical Working Group for the Regional Health Referral System, and other health sector stakeholders proudly shows the updated version of their referral manual which aims to benefit more than 8 million users of these health facilities’ services.

In his message as read DOH CVCHD Assistant Regional Director Dr. Sophia Mancao, Regional Director Dr. Jaime S. Bernadas said, “This knowledge product is a powerful tool in operationalizing our upgraded health referral systems. It is a heartfelt reminder that securing people’s health leads to creating healthy and progressive communities – the ultimate goal of AmBisyon Natin 2040.”

Since 2019, USAID has worked with the national and local governments in preparing for the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act through technical assistance and policy guidance.