Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thinking Out of the Box 14

A Healthy Philippines?

Warning: If you do not want to read a sad reality about the Philippines, stop right here.

I learned many things from the ten business trips I made to Sri Lanka between 2005 and 2009. The healthcare system there is better than the Philippines, something which we can learn from. The following health indices will tell you why.

One. There is no significant difference in the growth rate of GDP in 1970-2007 between the two countries, as a measure of economic power.

Two. Between 2000 and 2005, public spending on health as a percentage of GDP in Sri Lanka is higher at 3.92% compared to the Philippines at 3.25%.

Three. The infant and child mortality rates of Sri Lanka is lower than ours. Refer to the Table below.

Four. As a result, Sri Lankans (75.14 years) live longer than Filipinos (71.09 years) too.

Traveling in the remote areas of the country, I also found that the roster of health practitioners are complete. They have doctors, nurses, and midwives in the far flung areas. The prices of branded and high-quality medicines are ridiculously cheap and easily accessible.

These are just few of the observations that I gathered. The social health insurance systems, health care financing, and drug allocation are another story. It may not be that Sri Lanka has more sophisticated and modern medical tools. They too are a developing country like us. It is my opinion that they have quite strong primary health care system. Meaning to say, that the majority of people away from the big cities are afforded treatment and preventive health measures even before the disease becomes worse.

In lieu of the forthcoming elections, I ask each political candidate to describe in detail their specific and clear plans of action regarding this issue. The health of our nation is a priority that needs constant attention. A healthy nation reflects the universal structure of the government system.


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