Department of Health Website: Healthy Filipinos through Knowledge and Awareness

by Ka Edong on April 29, 2009

e-Government on Technobiography is published on Wednesdays. See e-Government category for more articles.

In this article, we discuss how the DOH is providing information about Swine Flu. The article continues to showcase the information and features of the DOH website. – ka edong

With all the news about the Swine Flu virus, it’s important to raise *rational* awareness (and not *fear*) about the epidemic. In the Philippines, the DOH is at the helm of situations like these.

What does the DOH website have to offer for this current health alert and for other health concerns?
Here is this week’s review of government websites.

DOH Website April 29, 2009

DOH Website April 29, 2009

Let’s start with the pressing issue at the moment: Here is the official statement of DOH on the Swine Flu situation. It’s prominently displayed on the front page. But I’m searching for more up-to-date information and I can’t find it on DOH at the moment.

For Flu reports: immediately report to:
National Epidemiology Center and/or the Health Emergency Management Staff. (DOH HOTLINE: 7111001 / 7111002)

Now for the website review. I’ll start with a recap of what we wrote about the DOH website back in 2002 when we first studied e-government.

DOH – Stage 3
The DOH website features statistics, advisories, information on health programs, policies, and FAQs on Diseases. They have downloadable application forms (MSWord format) for hospital accreditation, checklists and requirements. Various databases are also available.

Basic Information

The DOH website has all of the basic information expected from a government website. It has the department information including names, contact numbers and email addresses of key officials, org structures, a location map and even the department budget!

The website has a compilation of health advisories, laws, events and promos.

There’s a long list of health programs ranging from Food and waterborne diseases, new born screening, Family Planning, Smoking cessation program, Blood Donation, Dengue Control Program, Food Fortification Program. Clicking the links will provide the reader with more information about the program. Some health programs have weblinks to the specific program website featuring more in-depth information.

The DOH portal has some health knowledge products that includes a good compilation of Health Statistics. There’s a section on news clippings – literally clipped from print-publications, scanned and filed online — an outdated way of archiving knowledge, really.

They have publications, research and statistics, and databases (in excel or plain table format).

There’s the Fourmula One program which provides details on the Roadmap for health sector reforms in the PHilippines (2005-2010). Health events includes a calendar of activities, seminars and conferences.

There are a few downloadable templates including a form for the Philippine Registry for Persons with Disability.

Some “Remarkables”

  • The DOH as an online facility for publishing job openings, or “e-jobs . It provides details for projects or consultancies and includes a template for writing an application CV. Attached agencies can post their openings online (requires login).
  • For transparency, DOH has a section that describes doing business with the department.  It contains information for the complete cycle from Procurement, Licensing and Regulation and Accreditation. Important also for transparency is the “Notice of Awards” that announces all business/professional engagements done by the department.
  • There is a Web-enabled price monitoring info system described as “a user-friendly, microcomputer system designed for fast and efficient monitoring of drug and office supplies prices and reporting.The system will allow you to manipulate, combine and extract information from multiple database files. ” I couldn’t tell how well it works as it requires a login for authorized personnel.
  • The website has a wide inventory of FAQs! Topics range from diseases, to health programs and even website FAQs. I see that each of the FAQs are maintained by a specific group or attached agency — all good for ownership and accountability.
  • The search section let’s you extract articles based on your keyword.
  • There’s a food fortification program that provides search functionality and gives access to documents in DOH library. Useful for students who want to do advance research before visiting the DOH library.
  • The National Epidemiology Center has a software for “handling epidemiologic data in questionnaire format and for organizing study designs and results into text that may form part of written reports.” — In essence (i think), it’s a software that can be used to track an epidemic.
  • The DOH website has forums setup, but it does not have much recent activity. They have an Intranet and a DOH webmail service. There’s also a mobile service that let’s the public send SMS messages to the DOH Secretary’s office.

Evaluation

The DOH has obviously invested resources into putting together a professional-looking website. The Department portal has a seamless appearance but the different program websites or agency websites are obviously maintained in a de-centralized fashion. I think that will be the trend for most department websites.

There is a lot of information in the website but it looks like it’s not easy for a first time visitors to find the information they are looking for. The website can use some improvement in the way they do “Search”. For instance, I encountered at least four search functions in the website. Visitors will definitely benefit from a consolidated search (and I know this is not easy to do for a de-centralized collection of websites).

Perhaps the DOH is more of a knowledge, awareness and monitoring agency. Apart from employment and service engagement, I do not see any G2C (Government to Citizen) transactions done online.

I’m sure there’s more than meets the eye behind the DOH website. Perhaps it’s just a matter of understanding how a truly interested visitor can make good use of the website.

Scorecard:

  • Stage 1: Emerging – 5 of 5
  • Stage 2: Enhanced – 5 of 5
  • Stage 3: Interactive – 4 of 5
  • Stage 4: Transactional – 0 of 5

Conclusion: The DOH Website is an Stage 3 Interactive e-Government Website

Contact DOH:
Address: 2006 Republic of the Philippines, Department of Health
San Lazaro Compound, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Telephone: (+632) 743-8301 to 23
Website: http://www.doh.gov.ph
Contact: http://www.doh.gov.ph/contact_us

Text DOH
To all mobile users: Type doh or dohsec [space] [message]. Send to 2960 for all subscribers.

p.s. The Philhealth website is a different story and deserves its own separate website review.

ka edong
healthy – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual

Incoming search terms:

Comments

Previous post:

Next post: