General and traditional medicine
For general information about the health status of Filipinos, related laws and public pronouncements, visit the Department of Health (DOH) homepage. The health insurance company provides information about health care, while the “Handbook Philippines” (see reading tips) devotes several articles to the topic.
Here is a list of the diseases Filipinos suffer most from. Over the years there has been an oppressive constant: Seven out of ten Filipinos will not see a doctor until they die. Most of them cannot afford it financially. And the others prefer to fall back on their familiar “hilot”, who as traditional healers Faith Healers mostly enjoy great reputation in rural communities, or alternative healing techniques. In this context, it should be pointed out that the deeply religious, but at the same time superstitious Filipinos see no contradiction in viewing inexplicable (disease) phenomena as controlled by external media, even “kulam” (witch power), to defend themselves against them protective ” recommend.
In 1997, the government passed the law establishing the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act of 1997 TAMA. It says, among other things:
“It is hereby declared the policy of the State to improve the quality and delivery of health care services to the Filipino people through the development of traditional and alternative health care and its integration into the national health care delivery system. It shall also be the policy of the State to seek a legally workable basis by which indigenous societies would own their knowledge of traditional medicine. When such knowledge is used by outsiders, the indigenous societies can require the permitted users to acknowledge its source and can demand a share of any financial return that may come from its authorized commercial use. ”
According to softwareleverage, PITAHC also propagates the use of scientifically founded herbal medicine, which numerous NGOs active in the health care sector such as Hain have been practicing for a long time together with the use of acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese massage.
Around 90,000 registered doctors work in the Philippine health system, but their number is decreasing because they are looking for work abroad (as nurses if necessary) and want to settle there. There are approximately 2,400 hospitals nationwide, of which approximately 1,700 are publicly owned. While over 60 percent of the population has statutory health insurance through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (with basic coverage only), barely half of the population has access to health care.
In the past few years, only one percent of the national budget was earmarked for the public health system – nothing was changed in terms of funding in 2018, and budget items for education and health are even to be reduced. The state hospitals are mostly underfunded and in a condition that leaves a lot to be desired. Wealthy and foreigners alike prefer privately managed and technically well-equipped hospitals. Medication and treatment costs have to be paid by the patient themselves; down payments prior to treatment are common. It is not uncommon for seriously ill patients to literally die in front of the hospital gates because they cannot meet such a requirement.
Insurance system & HIV / AIDS
The Social Security System has existed since 1947 and currently has around 27 million members, but by far does not guarantee adequate protection for the lion’s share of the population.
Contraception (methods) and HIV / AIDS are extremely sensitive issues in a society that is essentially Roman Catholic and whose church hierarchy forbids the use of condoms and other contraceptives due to religious reservations and its very conservative attitude – and whose priests, on the other hand, use harsh words preach from the pulpits. However, there are approaches in the AIDS Surveillance and Education Project in the Philippines to work towards HIV / AIDS prevention – also in the hinterland.
In the past few years, two reports attracted particular attention. On the one hand, it is more and more common that people – including children and adolescents – sell organs (mainly kidneys) to wealthy Filipinos and / or wealthy foreigners and are cheated even in such bleak cases. On the other hand, over 40 health workers and doctors, Health Workers Abducted, have been arrested and detained by state security forces on the flimsy pretext for being believed to be sympathizers of the Communist Party (CPP) and its guerrilla, the New People’s Army.
Already during the Marcos dictatorship, medical personnel were repeatedly targeted by state surveillance and repression when they advocated community-oriented basic medicine for the needs of the weak, poor and marginalized in society. Several doctors had to pay for this commitment with their lives.