The global concern for good health is incorporated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Goal number three seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all.
The world may be characterized by much diversity but the issue on health and development obtained substantial and constant consideration from different countries. Progress has been made in treating diseases as evidenced by significant improvement in nutrition, education, medicines, water and sanitation and life expectancy. These are hopeful indicators that something great is being done to achieve health gains.
Health promotion and disease prevention strategies are part of public policy in the Philippines. However, amid the existing health policies and programs of the government, much is left to be done.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the health situation in the country can be summarized in three words – stagnation, inequality and opportunity. Although Philippines is a lower-middle income country, virtually every health indicator has been stagnant or shown only a small improvement in the past decade.
Despite a 4-percent GDP growth annually for the past decade, 50-percent of the population still live on less than $2/day. 30-percent of children under-five years of age are stunted, half of all children are iron-deficient, 30-percent iodine-deficient and moderate and severe malnutrition are reported.
All methodologies used to measure maternal mortality show that there has been little if any improvement for ten years. Teenage pregnancy rates are increasing and the age at first pregnancy decreasing. The country has progressed in reducing under-five mortality but significant inequities remain as seen in Mindanao where child mortality is 4 to 5 times higher than in Manila.
The Philippines, although still considered to be low prevalence, has the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world. The past five years has seen a 587-percent increase in people reported as living with HIV. Medicine prices in the Philippines remain some of the highest in Asia. (Global Health Observatory, April 2014 http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.cco)
Apparently, we cannot ignore the abovementioned risks to health, which have important social and economic consequences. Enhanced cooperation among government, non-government organizations, civil organizations and private organizations is being called for to address the various health issues.
A significant endeavour geared toward alleviating the health condition of the Filipino people is the implementation of community outreach programs by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). One of the valuable means of pursuing PCSO’s commitment to the Filipino people is the conduct of free medical and dental missions in depressed areas within and outside of Metro Manila, particularly in far-flung areas and communities.
The services include medical consultation and treatment, dental consultation and treatment including tooth extraction and preventive dental health education, and provision of free medicines for primary health care. PCSO conducts this program in partnership with Local Government Units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), civic and religious organizations and other government agencies.
The PCSO team is composed of medical practitioners including doctors, dentists and nurses. The team attends to an average of 150 medical and dental patients per mission. The health workforce of PCSO has gone to areas with little or no medical care at all. Despite the tough work and uncomfortable conditions, the team managed to conscientiously perform their mission of charity.
From CY 2010 to third quarter of 2016, the number of institutional beneficiaries of the medical and dental mission reached 1,984. The program had likewise served 245,612 individuals. A total of P10,037,669.84 was utilized to serve both institutional and individual beneficiaries.
PCSO, in support of the global development goals and the health programs of the national government, continuously aims to ensure healthy lives, promote well-being and create long-term change by helping those in need.
The facts presented by the Global Health Observatory and World Health Organization pose enormous challenges to the whole bureaucracy. We may be miles away from achieving equitable access to efficient health system, but little efforts count. We are heartened by the fact that every day, dedicated public servants work hand in hand to make the vision of providing medical assistance and services a reality.
Request for Medical and Dental Mission
Letter of Request addressed to the PCSO Chairman/General Manager which must indicate a Comprehensive Project Proposal with the following information:
Name of project
Rationale to include statement on availability of resources or lack of access to health services
Projected number of recipients
Demographic Health Profile of the Area to be served;
SEC registration or any accrediting/regulating body if an NGO or a private entity.