I was delighted to hear last week that President elect Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Dr. Paulyn Ubial as the new Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH). She is currently an Assistant Secretary in charge of the Office of Health Regulations at the DOH.
In a departure from previous appointees, Secretary Ubial is not only a medical doctor but has 26 years of experience in public health, specifically maternal, neonatal and child health programs. It is amazing to have someone experienced in maternal and child health at the highest level within the DOH.
With her background in maternal and child health, Dr. Ubial is in a strong position to oversee the full implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law – something President Elect Duterte publicly supports. This will prevent further maternal deaths and unplanned pregnancies, especially among teenagers. It will also help control our growing HIV epidemic. Maternal health indicators are particularly bad in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao so Dr. Ubial’s knowledge of and background in the region will also help lower our rates of maternal deaths.
Secretary Ubial started out as a rural health practice volunteer in Kidapawan, North Cotabato in 1998. Over the last decades she has slowly risen through the DOH ranks. She has held several positions within the DOH and is well versed and experienced in the functions of the different arms of the organization. Leadership within the DOH are also happy with her appointment and believe the DOH will improve under her leadership.
One of Dr. Ubial’s strongest advocacies has been her campaign against smoking in the Philippines. This will serve her well within President Elect Duterte’s plans to impose smoking and drinking bans across the Philippines.
Congratulations again Dr. Ubial and best wishes to you for your new role!