A group is calling on the Department of Health (DOH) to adopt a new tack in the country’s health care system, one that is more focused on preventive care.
Emer Rojas, New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president, has said there is a need for the government to focus more on preventing illnesses aside from ensuring that the people will get treatment when they get sick.
“Hospitals and health centers are being overwhelmed with sick people. This simply signifies that more people get sick likely because of the lack of health promotion from the authorities,” he added.
“If there would be more programs for healthy lifestyles and disease prevention through health promotion from the government, certainly [fewer]people will get sick and [fewer]people will need medical care,” Rojas said.
A staunch anti-smoking advocate, he cited adoption of the Graphic Health Warning (GHW) in cigarette packs as the best example of “preventive care” through awareness of harms from tobacco use.
“The more GHW makes people aware of the illnesses related to cigarette smoking, the more cigarette smokers will attempt to quit and [fewer young people]would start smoking,” Rojas said.
Republic Act 10643 or the GHW law mandates tobacco manufacturers to place picture-based warnings in cigarette packs.
The DoH, in October, released required templates of the 12 GHWs to be used.
Included in the templates are images of people suffering from stroke, emphysema, mouth cancer, gangrene, impotence, throat cancer, neck cancer, as well as premature birth and low birth-weight of babies of smoking mothers.
“The Philippines has outdated public hospitals in terms of the facilities and medical research. The people needs advanced medical intervention in government hospitals. Prevention, however, should be prioritized, otherwise we shall be spending more and more on medical costs brought about by diseases that [could]have been prevented in the first place. Health promotion is the solution,” Rojas said.