Philippines Report

Health in the Philippines

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Health in the Philippines – The Philippine Department of Health (shortened as DOH; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Kalusugan) is the executive department of the Philippine government in charge for ensuring access to basic public healthservices by all Filipinos through the setting up of quality health care and the regulation of all health services and products.

It is the governments over-all technical right on health. It has its headquarters at the San Lazaro Compound, along Rizal Avenue in Manila.The department is led by the Secretary of Health, chosen by the President of the Philippines and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. The Secretary is an affiliate of the Cabinet.



History of the Health in the Philippines

On June 23, 1898, the Americans well-known a military Board of Health with Dr. Frank S. Bourns as president. The purpose of this Board of Health was to precaution for injured American troops but as the hostilities between Filipinos and Americans waned in 1901, a member of the public Board of Health was now deemed appropriate with Dr. L. M. Maus as the first health commissioner.

In the early 1900s, 200,222 lives, as well as 66,000 children were lost; three percent of the population was decimated in the most awful epidemic in Philippine health history. In view of this, the Americans organized and erected several institutions, as well as the Bureau of Governmental Laboratories, which was built in 1901 for medical research and vaccine production.

The Americans, led by Dean Worcester constructed the UP College of Medicine and Surgery in 1905, with Johns Hopkins University helping as a blueprint, at the time, one of the best medical schools in the world. By 1909, a nursing instruction was also started at the Philippine Normal School. In terms of public health, the Americans improved on the sewer system and provided a safer water resource.

In 1915, the Bureau of Health was reorganized and renamed into the Philippine Health Service. During the following year's leadership and a number of health institutions were already being given to Filipinos, in accordance to the Organic Act of 1916. On January 1, 1919, Dr. Vicente De Jesus became the first Filipino to head the Health portfolio.

In the year 1933, after a restructuring, the Philippine Health Service reverted to being known as the Bureau of Health. It was through this time that it pursued its official journal, The Health Messenger and well-known Community Health and Social Centers, precursors to today's Barangay Health Centers.

By 1936, as Governor-General Frank Murphy was supposing the post of United States High Commissioner, he would remark that the Philippines controlled all oriental countries in terms of health status.

When the Commonwealth of the Philippines was initiated, Dr. Jose Fabella was named chief of the Bureau of Health. In 1936, Dr. Fabella reviewed the Bureau of Health’s organization and made an record of its current facilities, which consisted of 11 community and community health centers, 38 hospitals, 215 puericulture centers, 374 hygienic divisions, 1,535 dispensaries and 72 laboratories.

In the 1940s, the Bureau of Health was reorganized into the Department of Health and Public Welfare, still under Fabella. During this time, the major importance of the agency include tuberculosis, malnutrition, malaria, leprosy, gastrointestinal disease, and the high baby mortality rate.When the Japanese occupied the Philippines, they disbanded the National Government and changed it with the Central Administrative Organization of the Japanese. Health was referred to the Department of Education, Health and Public Welfare below Commissioner Claro M. Recto.

In the year 1944, President Manuel Roxas signed Executive Order (E.O.) No. 94 into law, calling for the creation of the Department of Health. Dr. Antonio C. Villarama as chosen Secretary. A new Bureau of Hospitals and a Bureau of Quarantine was made under DOH. Under E.O. 94, the Institute of Nutrition was created in 1948 to coordinate various nutrition activities of the different agencies.

On the day of February 20, 1958, Executive Order 288 provided for the reorganization of the Department of Health. This involved a partial decentralization of powers and created eight Regional Health Offices. Under this setup, the Secretary of Health passed on approximately of responsibilities to the regional offices and directors.

One of the priorities of the Marcos management was health maintenance. From 1975 to the mid-eighties, four specialty hospitals were made in succession. The first three institutions were spearheaded by First Lady Imelda Marcos. The Philippine Heart Center was recognized on February 14, 1975 with Dr. Avelino Aventura as director. Second, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center was constructed in 1979. Then in 1983, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute was set up. This was shortly followed by the Lung Center of the Philippines, which was built under the guidance of Health Minister Dr. Enrique Garcia.


With a change to a parliamentary form of government, the Department of Health was transformed into the Ministry of Health on the day of June 2, 1978 with Dr. Clemente S. Gatmaitan as the first health minister. On April 13, 1987, the Department of Health was made from the previous Ministry of Health with Dr. Alfredo R. A. Bengzon as secretary of health.



Healthcare in the Philippines are changeable from private, public, to barangay health centers (many rural municipalities). Most of the national problem of health care is taken up by private health providers.Medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, caregivers, nursing aides, and health administrators, can all train for their profession in the Philippines. However, most cannot training outside the Philippines without additional formal study and practical training, usually in the country they take to migrate.

There is no requirement in the Philippines for causes of death to be medically determined preceding to registration of a death, accordingly national statistics as to causes of death in the Philippines cannot be accurately verified. In the provinces, especially in places more remote from registries, births and deaths are often not recorded if some family need arises, such as entry into college. When there is no legal process needed to pass on inheritance, the recording of deaths is saw as unnecessary by the family.


Large areas of the Philippines do not have daily contact to any pharmaceuticals.In 2000 the Philippines had almost 95,000 physicians or about 1 per 800 people. In 2001 there were almost 1,700 hospitals, of which about 40 percent were government run and 60 percent private, with a total of almost 85,000 beds, or almost one bed per 900 people.
The leading causes of morbidity as of 2002 were diarrhea, pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis, hypertension, tuberculosis, heart disease, malaria, chickenpox, and measles. Cardiovascular diseases account for other than 25 percent of all deaths. According to official estimates, 1,965 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were informed in 2003, of which 636 had developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other approximations state that there may have been as many as 9,400 persons living with HIV/AIDS in 2001.


Health Philippines

ISABELA, Philippines

Expenditures on health in 2002 summed about US$2.2 billion, or almost 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Government expenses on health accounted for only almost 15 percent of total health expenses, 30 percent of each capita health expenses, and about 0.9 percent of all government spending. Each capita health costs in 2002 totaled US$28, of which government spending accounted for US$8. Both total and per capita costs on health have continued to drop since at least 1990, leading to a lessening in the share of GDP attributable to health costs. The main cause of this drop has been the high population growth rate. The government share of total costs on health also has failed steadily, and with more people, there has remained less to expend per person from both the government and private sectors.

The projected National Health Budget for 2010 is P28 billion, almost US$597 million, or about 310 pesos (US$7) per individual in the Philippines. Generic medicines in the Philippines are highly inexpensive versus branded medicines due to the high out of pocket expenses in the Philippines in terms of value even with the 81% analysis of the country's healthcare system.

Read Cross in the Philippines

Health in the Philippines

The Philippine Red Cross over and done with its Health Services Department supports the expansion of primary health precaution coverage with its community based health programs. It also make sure timely response to public health emergencies and the distribution of vital health care services in times of calamities.

Its programs center on the importance of health promotion and prevention of illnesses. Through the Health Services programs which focuses on public health, public health volunteers and volunteer health professionals are prepared with proper knowledge and skills in the areas of Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Disaster Nursing, Nutrition, HIV, Communicable disease prevention and control which take in immunization, and community health valuations.

Community Health Volunteers are trained to do home care visits to do health advertising and perform basic health services such as taking vital signs. These trained volunteers are required to support the health human resource in the communities in delivering activities such as those relating to supplementary feeding programs, reporting diseases occurring in their neighborhood, determining disease prone areas, and doing health checks.
Health Services also regulates communities where there is low access to health facilities and services. These are later maintained through the construction and equipping of health centers and water and toilet facilities.
Health professionals like as nurses, doctors, and midwives who are involved with this department are trained on emergency field hospital operations, disaster nursing, water and sanitation and hygiene. They are mobilized to do health assessments, provide primary health care services, immunization, and research and disease monitoring, and health education campaigns.

Health issues

Health issues and the value of medical facilities vary enormously depending on where and how you travel in the Philippines. Several of the major cities are very well developed – indeed Manila and Cebu are ‘medical tourism’ destinations where foreigners flock for affordable yet capable health care in modern hospitals. Travel in rural areas is a different story and carries a variety of health hazards. For that matter, the average islander who practices small-scale farming and fishing can't afford modern medical precaution. As a result, some seek treatment from folk healers who are generally related with Highlands’s people (the island of Siquijor is particularly well known for this).

Some travelers worry about narrowing infectious diseases when in the tropics, but infections are a rare cause of serious illness or death in travelers. Pre-existing medical circumstances and accidental injury (especially traffic accidents) account for most life-threatening problems.

Treat our guidance as a general guide only; it does not replace the advice of a doctor trained in travel medicine.

  • Philippine pharmacies are commonly well stocked with sterilized disposable syringes, bandages and antibiotics, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own sterilized first-aid kit, particularly if you’re going to be travelling off the compressed track. Contact-lens solution and spare contacts are readily accessible in cities.
  • Pack medications in their original, clearly written off as containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician telling your medical conditions and medications, as well as generic names, is also a good idea. If you have a heart condition, bring a copy of your ECG taken fair prior to travelling.
  • If you take somewhat regular medication bring twice your needs in case of loss or theft. Philippine pharmacies commonly have need of a doctor’s prescription to issue medications. It can be hard to find some of the newer drugs, particularly the newest anti-depressant drugs, contraceptive pills and blood-pressure medications.


Specialised travel-medicine clinics are your finest source of information; they stock all available vaccines and will be capable to give specific recommendations. The doctors will take into account factors such as past vaccination history, the length of your trip, activities you might be responsibility and underlying medical conditions.

  • Visit a doctor six to eight weeks before departure, as utmost vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they’re given.
  •  Request your doctor for an International Certificate of Vaccination (otherwise known as the ‘yellow booklet’), listing all vaccinations expected.
  •  The only vaccine required by international regulations is yellow fever. Proof of vaccination will only be compulsory if you have visited a country in the yellow-fever zone within the six days prior to entering Southeast Asia.


Required & Recommended Vaccinations

The World Health Organization (WHO) commends the following vaccinations for travelers to Southeast Asia:

  •  Adult diphtheria and tetanus Single booster suggested if none has been given in the previous 10 years. Side effects include a sore arm and fever.
  • Hepatitis A Provides nearly 100% protection for up to a year; a booster after 12 months be responsible for at least another 20 years’ protection. Insignificant side effects such as headache and a sore arm occur in 5% to 10% of people.
  •  Hepatitis B Now well thought-out routine for most travelers. Given as three shots over six months. A rapid schedule is also accessible, as is a combined vaccination with hepatitis A. Side effects are mild and uncommon, usually headache and a sore arm. Lifetime safety occurs in 95% of people.
  • Measles, mumps and rubella two doses of MMR required unless you have had the diseases. Sometimes a rash and flu-like illness can develop a week after receiving the vaccine. Many young adults need a booster.
  • Polio Only one booster is required as an adult for lifetime protection.
  • Typhoid Suggested unless your trip is less than a week. The vaccine offers around 70% protection, lasts for two to three years and comes as a single shot. Tablets are also accessible, however the injection is usually recommended as it has fewer side effects. A sore arm and fever may happen.
  •  Varicella If you haven’t had chickenpox, discuss this vaccination with your doctor.These are suggested only for long-term travellers (more than one month):
  •  Japanese B Encephalitis Three injections in all. Booster suggested after two years. A sore arm and headache are the most common side effects.
  •  Meningitis Single injection. There are two kinds of vaccination: the quadrivalent vaccine gives two to three years’ protection; meningitis group C vaccine gives around 10 years’ safety. Recommended for long-term travellers aged under 25.
  • Rabies Three injections in all. An advocate after one year will then provide 10 years’ protection. Side effects are rare – irregularly a headache and sore arm.
  •  Tuberculosis A intricate issue. Adult long-term travellers are usually suggested to have a TB skin test before and after travel, somewhat than vaccination. Only one vaccine is given in a lifetime.

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