A HEALTH advocacy group launched their mobile clinic dubbed as “Klinika Ng Bayan” in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and hopes to replicate the mobile clinic in 200 pilot towns across the country which includes some areas in Eastern Visayas.
Ower Andal, the nominee of Anakalusugan (Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan) party-list, said their “Klinika Ng Bayan” gives free basic medicines and diagnostic tests not only to residents of Sto. Tomas but also to its neighboring towns.
“One in three Filipino children aged five years old and below suffer from malnutrition and stunting, and at least 60 percent of Filipinos who died in 2016 were not medically attended,” Andal said.
“You need a blood test or diagnostic exam to get a proper prescription and accurately identify your illness, but in rural areas, the nearest hospital or clinic may be several towns away,” said Andal.
“Early detection is cheaper. Our advocacy is more on prevention,” Andal told reporters in Tacloban City.
Mike Defensor, also a nominee, said that the medical inflation rate in the Philippines is expected to be the highest in Asia based on the prevailing ratio of one public doctor for every 33,000 persons instead of the “ideal” ratio of 1:1,000.
He pointed out the “glaring gaps and problems” in the country’s health situation, prompting them to push for their legislative agenda to solve it.
“The Philippines is now suffering from a health crisis...The cost of medicines and access to medical services are becoming more and more prohibitive, yet this problem has been largely left out of the political discourse,” Defensor said.
Defensor said that to solve the “health crisis” in the country, they will push for the removal of the 12 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on vitamins and all maintenance medicines and procedures.
“We will pass a law that would ensure that health insurance premiums remain VAT-free. Also, we will set a fixed allowance for Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars who serve as force multipliers of the Department of Health (DOH), especially in areas where there are no public doctors,” the group said in a statement.
Among their legislative agenda, Defensor said they will “strengthen the mandate of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care to promote alternative medicines and allocate a fixed portion of the Internal Revenue Allotment of not lower than 5 percent for health and nutrition services.”
“We will ensure that all persons with disabilities are registered so they can fully enjoy their benefits such as their 20 percent discount and VAT exemption,” he added.
Meanwhile, Defensor called on the DOH to enhance its health education, noting the spike in teenage pregnancy and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in the country.
He also urged for the audit of all government hospitals before it will be upgraded.
“We should come up with a comprehensive solution and rationalized approach to solve these health issues,” Defensor said. (SunStar Philippines)