Ex-DOH chief says Tony Leachon 'not a public health expert'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — Former health chief Jannette Garin questioned the public health expertise of recent appointee Tony Leachon as a special adviser of the Department of Health (DOH).

"Do you think it's fair for the DOH to give ₱100,000 to a person whose statements were always skewed and malicious?" Garin told DOH chief Ted Herbosa during the budget deliberations on Wednesday.

"I'm saying this because as a secretary of health, you have allies and colleagues with you whose tasks and functions will be affected," she added.

The House panel also found out that Leachon does not have a masters or doctorate degree in public health to be considered an expert.

Leachon was appointed as DOH special adviser for non-communicable diseases last August. He was an internist and cardiologist at the Manila Doctors' Hospital. He also previously served as a COVID-19 task force adviser.

"You can hire him as your personal consultant but you cannot give him the platform of the Department of Health because that is a lot different," Garin said.

Instead of paying a non-expert in the field, the congresswoman said funds should be allocated to Medical Assistance for Indigents Program (MAIP) workers.

"Ang laki-laki ng medical assistance program. Napakaraming trabaho sa kanila... pero kulang na kulang sila sa tao [The medical assistance program is huge. There's a lot of work to do but they lack manpower]," she said.