Monday, April 21, 2008

Philippine Healthcare System

It used to be, during the last year of medical training we would be sent to some far flung barrio and we would get “immersed” with what was truly out there. We would treat hypertension with native herbal concoctions delivered with an enormous dollop of patient education, detailing the pathophysiology of the disease and suggest numerous lifestyle modification techniques that 20 years later I now fully realize was a total waste of time.

What Filipino medical students need is a different rotation, to a healthcare system that works. We should be sent to countries like Japan, the US, Cuba, South Africa and learn about methods that work. What is happening is we are producing generations of Filipino medical doctors who are fully aware of the almost-absent healthcare system but are unable to think differently from the reliably failed nostrums of the preceding generation of public health policy makers.

Philippine healthcare system? System denotes order that promotes efficacy. We are certainly not a healthy people. We are woefully malnourished, our diets depend on sodium to acquire a semblance of palatability, clean water is hard to find and the vast majority of the poor are intentionally kept in the dark regarding their healthcare choices.

We Doctors must find it unacceptable that the government places very little importance to healthcare. And this comes about because many politically connected physicians actively co-opt this tragic lack of foresight. We must understand that there is no way for an unhealthy population to rise from dehumanizing poverty and corruption.

What can we do? We all know the situation is not getting any better. We all have our opinions and solutions, most of which will never be heard because we choose to be quiet and uninvolved. It is easier to allow all these wonderful technocrats and healthcare experts to continue charting this disastrous course while we comfort ourselves by participating in medical missions and contributing assistance towards the medical needs of a few unfortunate souls.

It is simpler and safer to be part of the problem.

5 comments:

Joey said...

Ouch! The truth really hurts. Unfortunately, I don't believe that health care is really a priority in the Philippines. :(

MerryCherry, MD said...

Hi Sir Martin. The first part of your entry is the exact opposite of what I wrote. :(

But your entry is a wake up call. Really.

The Blog Rounds 6th Edition here. Thanks!

underside said...

hi sir! have you heard of the canister scandal in vicente sotto memorial medical center in cebu? that one is pure stupidity, really.

MD Bautista said...

Dear Underside, yes the canister deal is a real disaster. Marami tuloy ang mag-aakala na tama si Teri Hatcher.

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