With the Philippines facing numerous healthcare issues, from low budget to overly expensive health care, from brain drain to underpaid and overworked health care workers, the front liners are now here to offer pieces of their minds.
photo courtesy of Lyle Lahey Editorial Cartoon
The 6th edition of The Blog Rounds tries to give light to the challenges facing the Philippine Healthcare System. Medical bloggers attempt to diagnose, explain the pathology, and even suggest management options to this barely breathing system, where they work (or used to work) for.
SHOW ME THE MONEY. Chronicles from the Middle of Nowhere talks about the painfully obvious problem of no budget for health. The patients she has seen are what see calls the The Lucky Ones because they were able to reach the hospital at all. She describes the system as that does what it can, ill-equipped, severely underfunded, but always working with the best of intentions.
The Saga Continues simplified what is wrong in A Sick System: if you have money, you can get treated. If you don't, sorry. Plain and simple, harsh but true. This very straightforward blogger ends this by saying we just have to do with we have, for now.
BRAIN DRAIN. Prudence, MD's top commented posts are mostly related on the greatest challenge our healthcare is facing -- brain drain. M.D.s on Strike discusses why doctors are and should be leaving while they can. In We are responsibie for the shortage of doctors, not the rich nations, she dwells deeply into why we should look within the country for the solutions to our problem.
The Bubbleman have several posts too. In Why Stop Me? I Am Leaving As Someone Else, he reacts to the Secretary of Health, Dr. Duque's idea of banning the deployment of doctors. In What is the real living proof of RP Doctors' skills?, he expounds on Filipino doctor's proof of skills as not based on a 64-slice Computed Tomography machine but based on his desire to serve his countrymen WITHOUT the benefit of that 64-slice thing.
IT'S COMPLICATED. Beyond Borders: The Lei Si Chronicles, sees the complexity of the system in What seems to be the problem? From “welfare state” country with outdated practices to expensive health care and unending comparison with the United States. But she believes that the most important illness that this system is going through is moral poverty.
An Eye Doctor In A Third World Country details on how the 'rotten' practices of other eye physicians in her hometown have caused undue damage to all of them, especially, starting, well-meaning ophthalmologists like her. Meron ba tayo nyan? Cheeseburger? uses humor to lighten up this very serious issue with our primary health insurance provider, PhilHealth.
Freudian Slip, a visiting blogger, cites several pathologies as to why this tricky machinery, a.k.a., healthcare system is failing. Working in a devolved setting, he has seen why the devolution of the public health system has made it even worse in Philippine Healthcare System. This entry by the way, is the first post to be submitted for this round.
Parallel Universes uses the analogy of the disease staging to illustrate the severity of the system's condition. What stage are we in? Read Diagnosing Philippine Healthcare: When Dying Becomes the Better Option when he asks several questions on long standing laws in the country, analyse the key players and ends with the more alarming reality and diagnosis is the growing apathy about the whole situation.
SKEWED PRIORITIES. Joey M.D. enumerates in Not a priority! how health is not given due importance by this government and patients, which in turn makes a doctor’s practice even more difficult. She even suggest a simple solution that maybe, just maybe, media can do their part in disseminating health information. But again, that is not their priority! Frustrating, isn't it?
Ripples from the River of My Thoughts bring us back to how it is to lose a patient, for the first time in her post Who's to Blame?. This doctor in training relates this experience in trying to figure out who’s responsible for her patient's death: the people behind the system. That would include corrupt government, patients who don't prioritize their health, anesthesized health workers.
WORLD'S APART. Anthology of Abner Hornedo, MD sarcastically posts Is there really a system? pun intended, from the Land of Down Under. His frustration is magnified in this statement, "I cannot compare the Philippine Healthcare system with Australia's Medicare. There is no point of comparing... ang layo talaga at ang laki ng kaibahan!"
On My Way Home, makes us realize that as part of the system, we must look into what we are doing: complaining and doing nothing results to nothing. Letting things as they are may be the path with least resistance but it doesn't solve anything. Philippine Healthcare System ends with these strong words: It is simpler and safer to be part of the problem.
Another visiting blogger, Nelia, compares the Emergency Room Setting of Philippines and Australia. The big difference? Accessiblity. She suggest treating the patient wholistically, and not only the disease, to at least compensate for our problems way back here.
SILVER LINING. Pinay Megamom compares going through the Philippine Health System as taking the History and physical examination of a chronically-ill patient in her post Pipti-pipti. Why the title? Read the post and she will show that things are not as hopeless as they seem.
At Random Ness contributed the most optimistic of all the posts, in the nick of time. The good, the bad and the ugly enumerates the different efforts of their provincial government to improve their health service and despite the endless list of bad and ugly things, there is, after all, something to smile about. Hopefully though, this very uplifting entry is already posted by this time.
Doralicious gives a very different but uplifting light in Philippine Healthcare System: Why is it far from the ideal? Being both a physician and a Councilor in Quezon City, she details how the government can't be solely blamed for what's happening. Or better yet, let's just all stop blaming or pointing fingers and do our part. She aptly ends this by concluding, "It is the inter-relationship of all the parties involved that cause our healthcare status to be this dismal... THERE IS HOPE." Very well said Councilor.
In case you are wondering what the host has to say about this? Health in the hands of the people suggests a simple solution to our ailing system-- focus on primary health care or preventive medicine. It may not be the ideal solution, but it is what this nation can afford and what the people can do with what we have right now.
It's a daunting task to try to figure out what ails the very system where we are parts of. But coming up with solution/s is or will be an even greater task. As we engross ourselves in these socially relevant posts, let us always keep in mind that most of us, if not all, are part of this very system we tried to diagnose.
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” -- Leonardo da Vinci
Now what can we do? What will you do?