How BSKE strengthens accountability in public health | Inquirer Opinion

How BSKE strengthens accountability in public health

/ 05:00 AM November 01, 2023

As voters trooped to the polls on Oct. 30 for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), it is imperative to recognize the pivotal role played by governance at this grassroots level in our nation’s development. The leaders we elect at the barangay and SK levels are the closest to our communities, and they hold a unique responsibility to address the diverse challenges we face. Among these challenges, perhaps the most pressing in today’s context, is the need for accountability, particularly in public health matters.

Accountability is a cornerstone of effective governance. Our barangay and SK leaders must be accountable on various fronts. Today, more than ever, health is at the forefront of these concerns. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical role that local leaders play in managing health crises and ensuring the welfare of their constituents. Remember how our barangay officials, tanod, and health workers did house-to-house contact tracing, risk communication, and vaccine advocacy? However, it’s not just the pandemic that demands their attention. Persistent health system problems like maternal and infant mortality, noncommunicable and infectious diseases, teenage pregnancy, and malnutrition continue to afflict our communities.

To address these issues, our leaders must be well-equipped with the knowledge and skills required to tackle the root causes of these problems. The Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Commission on Population and Development, and National Nutrition Council have a pivotal role in ensuring that these barangay leaders receive the necessary training and support. This should encompass not only health-care knowledge but also the management and leadership skills needed to make a tangible impact on public health.

Moreover, external resources can be tapped further to enhance the capacity of our barangay and SK leaders. For example, the Zuellig Family Foundation, a nongovernment organization focused on improving health conditions in rural Filipino communities, provides training programs for local government health leaders. Their modules, like those of the barangay health leadership and management program, are invaluable resources that can be shared with partner institutions, enabling a broader dissemination of knowledge and skills.


However, while these external resources and support systems are available, the first and foremost responsibility lies with us citizens. We have the power to shape our communities and the quality of governance therein. Voting wisely for our barangay and SK leaders is not just a right but a civic duty. Our choices will directly impact the quality of governance at the grassroots level.

The BSKE is not just another round of political contest. This is a reflection of our collective commitment to strengthen governance and improve the well-being of our communities. With informed choices and accountability as our watchwords, we can pave the way for a healthier and more prosperous future for all of us.

Dr. Anthony Rosendo
“Tonyboy” Faraon,deputy executive director,
Zuellig Family Foundation
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TAGS: 2023 barangay elections, Letters to the Editor, Public Health

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