The Philippine government spends only 3 percent on public health, much smaller than what the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommends.
Oscar Picazo, PIDS senior health research consultant of the Philippines Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), told reporters “about 3 percent to 3.5 percent” of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) goes to the health sector, compared to the 5 percent the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended 5 percent.
Rafaelita Aldaba, PIDS vice president, said that emerging countries like Brazil invest 7percent to 8 percent of their public spending in educational training and health.
But Irma Asuncion, Department of Health (DOH) director for the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said the department, under the “leadership of Health Secretary Enrique Ona,” is on its way to achieve the 5 percent target.
Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) indicates that the DOH was allotted the highest raise in the 2014 budget – 87.1 percent.
The Philippines’ maternal mortality rate (MMR) is rising and infant mortality rate (IMR) is down, but Picazo said the drop is slower than in other countries.
The MMR was up to 221 deaths per 1,000 live births—much higher than Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of minimizing deaths to 52 per 1,000 live births.
The IMR went down 61.6 percent, but still “not as fast as other countries” like Thailand (78.9 percent), Singapore (82.5 percent), Malaysia (78.5 percent) and Cambodia (69.8 percent).
KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO