Press Release
July 24, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that President Benigno Aquino III's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday must include a concrete plan for providing quality health care to Filipinos. "The President's ideals have helped restore the eroding trust in government," said Angara. "But these ideals must be made concrete."

Angara, who authored the National Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Act which makes free health care accessible to numerous Filipinos, noted that health care remains one of the major areas that government needs to address to improve the quality of life in the country."There is gross maldistribution of medical personnel in the country," lamented Angara. "It shows a lack of organization in making medical attention available nationwide, especially in the rural areas where it is most scarce."

The Philippines produces 10,000 nurses, 2,000 doctors and 1,500 midwives each year, and yet there are only 1.15 doctors and 4.37 nurses for every 10,000 Filipinos. At the same time, only 41 percent of births in rural areas are attended by skilled health personnel, while the proportion goes up to 79 percent in urban areas.

Angara noted that many of our medical professionals leave the country in search of greener pastures abroad.

"An organized national medical plan would provide good opportunities for medical professionals. We must give them a good reason to stay in this country," said Angara. "By doing that, we also ensure our people will be attended to by the best doctors, nurses and midwives."

The lack of skilled medical attendants result in 230 deaths for every 100,000 mothers each year, and 34 deaths for every 1,000 children under five years old. Angara authored the Senate Bill 2629 on Community Health Delivery and Health Team Placement in hopes of lowering these numbers, along with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Philippine Health Research Act of 2010.

"I expect President Aquino's SONA to touch on these urgent issues in health, among others." said Angara. "Our people remain supportive of tuwid na daan, but I'm sure we all want to know where this road leads."

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