Gov't urged to give aid to scoliosis patients

THE Scoliosis Philippines, a private organization promoting scoliosis awareness in the country, urged the National Government to provide financial assistance to indigent patients through full surgical subsidy.

Scoliosis Philippines founder Amanda Kiamko said on Friday that the National Government, through Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), only provides P100,000 subsidy to each indigent patient who has to undergo a surgical operation on severe curves called Spinal Fusion.

"Although a P100,000 may already sound big, but the cost for each operation would reach almost a million pesos including the medicines and needed hospital requirements. So where will our poor patients get the remaining money for the operation," Kiamko said.

Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH) assistant director Dr. Ronald Tengente, for his part, said 30 percent of the annual patient population in all hospitals in the city are scoliosis patients.

Scoliosis, Tangente said, is usually detected during childhood and can be prevented through an early detection screening with specific spinal alignment procedures.

Once a patient reaches 18 years old, the spinal alignment will be difficult to be treated as the skeletal system of a human body matures during this age.

"Worst effect of scoliosis is lung deterioration and heart failure due to severe spinal curve affecting the internal organs," he said.

Kiamko said Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) should extend its benefits to scoliosis patients through discount on spinal brace purchases.

Spinal or back braces cost around P40,000 to P100,000 each.

DDH, Tengente said, will open its Spinal and Scoliosis Center, the first in Mindanao, next month.

"This will be a one-stop shop center for patients wherein scoliosis awareness programs and scoliosis screening will be put in one place," he said.

The one-storey clinic will house US scoliosis detecting and treatment machines with orthopedic surgeons trained abroad, hoping to support the scoliosis patients in the country.
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