• Uprising Cost of Health Care in the Philippines
Inequalities in access to quality of health care among Filipino patients are glaring. While few health care facilities in the country boast meeting world class standards on quality care, while others suffer from dire lack of equipment and inadequate staff.
Such inequity is an extension of the imbalance on the country’s socio-economic development which favors the high income and urban sector of the population. Equity in health care has worsened during the period under consideration: the non-poor who are less burdened by illness or diseases receive more health care services while the poor who bear a greater burden of illnesses receive less health care.
The poor endure a greater burden of major diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, disability and epilepsy and thus “…need to seek quality health care that is largely provided by public and private hospitals and private clinics in the Philippines,”
“However, what is observed in the Philippine case is that there is inequity: the poor are not getting treatment according to their needs.”
Financial difficulties may have forced the poor to postpone seeking care until more severe stages of the illness, thus resulting in the bypass of primary basic health facilities, the Manila-based lender pointed out.
The failure of health care supply to keep pace with population growth also posed a constraint.“The population of the Philippines has been increasing at an annual rate of 2.3%, so if supply of services is not keeping up with the population growth there will be a decline in the utilization rate of the services,” the DOH paper read.
Health care utilization has declined at a faster rate than population growth, which could be attributed either to a decline either in the supply of services or in the demand or both, it added. The decline in supply could be due to scarcity of materials as well as lack of staff and equipment, which may have forced people to go to tertiary or private health care facilities that are better equipped and staffed, even for basic and primary health care. The lack of supply of hospital beds and physicians as well as the uneven distribution of health personnel across the regions are among the reasons cited for the differences.
Ironic that there are thousands of licensed nurses in the Philippines but hospitals are still understaffed. This is related to inadequate budget allotted for health. Migration is the cause of understaffed, nurses and doctors are leaving the country driven by low compensation. This migration leads to reduction of skilled and efficient health workers in our country that will results to poor quality of care. Though one of the solutions that hospitals are doing is to accept volunteers or trainees to compliment lack of manpower in the hospitals. Sad to say, it has been a business for funding supplies and facilities.
• Waste management
There was no adequate teaching or pre-service or in-service training program on health care waste management for health personnel, including medical doctors, health inspectors, nurses, and technicians in the hospital that makes everyone susceptible with infections and hospital acquired diseases and can be a threat in environmental health especially places near the hospitals.
• Uprising cost of health.
To address these problems, our group proposed that the government evaluate the databases of the state-owned Social Insurance System and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to study the scope for expansion in health care services and facilities. PhilHealth should continue to promote its services to provinces and municipalities where coverage rates are low.
Migration and lack of fund in the hospital leads to understaffed. Migration is somehow personal and we don’t have the control for that, but the fund that our government is allotting to the health is really not sufficient to make out health workers stay. Recommendations to aide this issue will be a proposal to LGU to establish sources of fund or give funds/budget in hospitals under their jurisdictions to help this hospitals comply with the needs. Example will be the Ospital ng Makati, where the LGU is funding the institution and giving a lot of benefits to the people.
• Waste management.
In the Philippines, HCWH-Southeast Asia launched its Health Care Waste Assessment Project (HWAP). The first step is to put in place a rigorous segregation program. Sorting healthcare waste once it has been mixed is extremely hazardous and should never be attempted.
Another important step that healthcare facilities can take is to reduce the number of unnecessary injections. Many patients have an unfounded belief that injections are better than pills. However, the used syringes are capable of spreading infections like HIV and hepatitis. Wherever a treatment can be given orally, that should be the preferred method. This act should be strictly implemented in hospitals to reduce the case of infections and diseases, this will also promote environmental health sanitation program. Hospitals should have a dedicated Health Care Waste Management Committee responsible for developing the health care facility's waste management plan which includes policies and guidelines on proper waste management, training and education, and monitoring. The committee schedules a monthly meeting to discuss problems related to waste management and find new ways to recycle and reuse products. Different hospitals found a variety of ways to utilise the money saved or earned from their new waste management practices — in one case there was enough to pay the salary of the waste manager, making the whole system self-sustaining.