Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CHWs demand higher health budget to address dengue problem

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique T. Ona and President Noynoy Aquino are like dengue mosquitoes – they are vectors of anti-poor health policies that make people sick.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) from Parañaque, Pasig, Tondo, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City trooped once again to DOH today to demand for a higher health budget for dengue patients in public hospitals.

Dengue cases continued to increase to 63,741 cases as of September 3 while the number of fatalities reached 373. Metro Manila still ranked first in terms of incidence at 14,081 followed by Central Luzon (11,427), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) (9,414), Ilocos (8,811), at Cagayan Valley (3,942).

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique T. Ona and President Noynoy Aquino are like dengue mosquitoes – they are vectors of anti-poor health policies that make people sick.
In Metro Manila, Quezon City recorded the highest number of cases at 4,385 while Caloocan City (1,802), Manila (1,620), Valenzuela (1,029), Pasig (800), and Malabon (706) reported an increasing number of cases as well.

Aside from dengue, patients suffer a “double-whammy” due to out-of-pocket expenses. Even charity ward patients are forced to spend at least P5,000 for complete blood count (CBC), oral rehydration solution (ORS), dextrose solution, needles for dextrose, and lancet or needle for blood extraction. The amount excludes fees for blood transfusion. Each bag of blood amounts to at least P1,500 at the Philippine National Red Cross.

Although DOH and Pnoy boasts its “No Balance Billing” under PhilHealth for the poorest 5.2 million individuals, the problem of expensive hospital fees continue to become a burden for dengue patients. Even with a subsidy of P16,000 per patient afflicted with dengue, out-of-pocket expenditures are still a burden.

Public hospitals are ill-equipped. Many of the necessary medical facilities and equipment are either lacking or have broken down. In-hospital pharmacies are poorly stocked and do not supply the necessary reagents. Hence, “patients’ relatives resort to private laboratory facilities and pharmacies in or outside the hospital,” the CHWs said.

In a recent budget hearing, Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño found out that PhilHealth covers a virtually negligible amount on a patient’s hospital bill. At the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) for example, PhilHealth only accounts for 14% of the total bill of PCMC patients for the year 2010. Majority of the expenses are borne by the patients, with 27% being covered by promissory notes.

The CHWs argued that the number of poor people is far more than 5.2 million. Instead of a “members-only” government health insurance scheme and anti-poor programs such as the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), services in public hospitals should be made free of charge and public health facilities beefed-up to better serve the public.

As an immediate measure, the CHWs called on the government to release P2 billion special budget for dengue patients in public hospitals and an additional P5 billion for dengue prevention campaign. They vowed to continue their protest actions and encourage hundreds of other CHWs, community members, health professionals, and health workers to march with them to Malacañang on September 29 to demand an increase on health budget.##

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Igiit ang dagdag na budget para sa mga pasyenteng may dengue!

Mula Enero hanggang Setyembre 3 ngayong taon, umaabot na sa 63,741 ang mga kaso ng dengue sa buong bansa habang 373 naman ang naitalang patay bunsod ng nasabing sakit. Pinakamataas ang Metro Manila na may 14,081 na sinundan ng Central Luzon (11,427), CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) (9,414), Ilocos (8,811), at Cagayan Valley (3,942).

Sa Metro Manila, pinakamataas pa rin ang Quezon City na may naitalang 4,385, Caloocan City (1,802), Manila (1,620), Valenzuela (1,029), Pasig (800), at Malabon (706).

Bukod sa pagkakasakit, dobleng dagok ang nararanasan ng mga pasyente sa mga ospital. Obligadong gumastos ng hindi bababa sa P5,000 kada pasyente kahit yaong mga nasa charity ward para sa complete blood count (CBC), oral rehydration solution (ORS), dextrose solution (3-4 bags kada araw), karayom para sa dextrose, at lancet o karayom para sa pagkuha ng dugo. Idagdag pa ang P1,500 kada bag ng dugo na kakailanganing isalin sa pasyente kung kailangan.

Bagaman ibinabandila ng Department of Health (DOH) at Malacañang ang “No Balance Billing” ng PhilHealth bilang “sagot” sa mga gastusin ng 5.2 milyong pinakamahihirap na pasyente, hindi nito totoong natutugunan ang kalunos-lunos na kalagayan sa mga pampublikong ospital. Marami sa mga pampublikong pasilidad ang kulang o walang gamot at reagents sa kanilang botika at kulang o sira ang mga pasilidad sa laboratoryo.

Hindi solusyon ang PhilHealth sa problemang pangkalusugan ng mamamayan dahil sa napakaraming limitasyon nito. Dahil sa kakulangan ng budget ng mga ospital ng gubyerno, kailangan pa ding maglabas ng pera ang mga mahihirap na pasyente dahil napipilitang pumunta sa mga pribadong laboratoryo at botika sa loob o labas ng ospital ang kaanak ng mga pasyente upang maitawid ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mahal sa buhay.

Sa halip na dagdagan ang budget ng mga pampublikong ospital, lalong ibinubukas ng pamahalaang Aquino sa mga dambuhalang negosyante ang serbisyong pangkalusugan ng mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng programa nitong Public Private Partnership (PPP). Lalong mawawalan ng kakayahang makapagpagamot ang mga mahihirap dahil negosyo at hindi serbisyo ang layunin ng mga namumuhunang ito.

Hindi lamang lamok kundi ang kawalang aksyon ng pamahalaan sa problemang pangkalusugan ng mamamayan ang sanhi ng kabi-kabilang outbreak ng dengue. Artipisyal at mistulang “pamasak-butas” ang mga hakbang na isinasagawa ng gubyerno dahil hindi nito nasasapul ang tunay na sanhi ng sakit na ito – mababang budget pangkalusugan.

Para sa mamamayan, dapat tayong magkaisa upang igiit ang ating karapatan sa kalusugan. Sama-sama nating ilantad ang mga mapanlinlang na programa ng gubyernong Aquino gaya ng PPP.

Magkaisa tayo upang igiit:

P2 bilyon special budget para sa mga pasyenteng may dengue!
P5 bilyon budget para sa pag-iwas sa dengue!
PPP o pribatisasyon, hindi solusyon sa problemang pangkalusugan!
PhilHealth, di sagot sa kawalan ng serbisyo!


Muli tayong magsama-sama sa Setyembre 29, 9:00 ng umaga sa harap ng University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila at tayo’y magmamartsa patungong Malacañang upang igiit ang dagdag na badyet sa kalusugan.

AHON-Isla (Samahan ng mga Naninirahan sa Isla Puting Bato)• Community Health Workers ng Pasig • Community Health Workers ng Alyansa ng mga Nakatira sa Tabing Ilog – Damayang Lagi •Kilos Bayan Para sa Kalusugan • Parañaque Wide Community Health Workers’ Association
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