Latest Stories

Medical Files

Achieving a meaningful healthcare coverage


One of the major commitments of the present administration is to provide hundred-percent healthcare coverage for all Filipinos. Getting sick and being able to afford the required treatment is a key concern of the average Filipino whose earnings are barely enough for the other basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and children’s education. There’s practically nothing left in the family budget for healthcare such that when someone gets sick, they have to sell belongings and/or ask for financial assistance from relatives and friends.

A government-funded health insurance such as the PhilHealth is the average Filipino’s best bet for a truly meaningful assurance of getting the required healthcare services particularly when it’s serious enough to require confinement and when surgery has to be done.

Closer to reality

With the financial windfall expected from the sin tax law which is already in effect starting this month, this previously elusive dream of universal healthcare (UHC) or Kalusugang Pangkalahatan, as the government prefers to call it, is closer to reality provided the government is able to plug the existing gaps in the healthcare system.

The lack of medical and healthcare facilities can certainly be addressed by the additional funds. Public-private partnerships will make selected government hospitals world-class in terms of facilities and operational systems. Primary and secondary healthcare facilities particularly in the rural areas also need to be improved.

A vital component of our vision for UHC is having enough manpower resources to render the necessary healthcare services. We cannot easily forget the specter of the past when many hospitals in the provinces were virtually abandoned with no one to treat even simple medical problems.

Healthcare manpower

Gone may be the days when doctors shifted to nursing in the quest for higher American dollars or English pounds abroad, but just when we thought that the mass exodus of healthcare professionals has ceased, we still hear of reports showing the utter lack of healthcare manpower in many rural areas nationwide, representing a big gap to be filled before a meaningful universal healthcare could be achieved.

It’s reasonable to assume that the exodus of doctors and nurses has abated, but ask the average young nurse in any hospital where she/he sees herself/himself five years from now and chances are, the answer would be any foreign country which could offer her/him a more decent salary, enough to fulfill her/his dreams of a brighter future for herself/himself and her/his family. Ask a young medical graduate and he/she would likely give a similar reply—that given the chance, he/she would like to pursue his/her dream abroad.

The countries now being targeted by our young doctors and nurses may have changed. Whereas before it was mostly the United States or Canada, now it can be England, any of the Middle East countries or even not so far away as Singapore, Malaysia or Brunei—practically any country able to offer them significantly more than the meager compensation they receive here. And who can blame them for nurturing a mindset to pack their bags and use their expertise attending to foreigners rather than their fellow Filipinos?

Reasonable compensation

It is not being presumptive to think that the majority of our doctors and nurses would rather stay here if only they can be assured of a more reasonable compensation commensurate to the services they’re expected to render. The compensation must be enough for them to live decently and fulfill their simple dreams of being able to send their children to good schools and build their own homes.

Aside from a decent compensation, the government must be able to offer them a career package which can make them grow professionally over the years. Most people get a sense of fulfillment from their jobs not only from their compensation package but from the knowledge that they have opportunities down the road for professional development, advancement and empowerment.

These plus the great feeling that they’re able to contribute their share in serving his or her countrymen can be a strong motivation for our doctors and nurses to stay. And that can be a vital factor in the meaningful fulfillment of universal healthcare or Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: health and wellness , healthcare coverage , PhilHealth

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 2 teenagers killed in Mlang, North Cotabato
  • No sympathy from North Korea over ferry disaster
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • De Lima on Gigi Reyes: Let’s wait and see
  • South Korean relatives divided over whether to raise ferry
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Lifestyle

  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace