Press Release
August 15, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on graduate schools specializing in health and allied sciences to help improve the quality of healthcare in the country through research and development.

Keynoting the 10th anniversary of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC) Graduate School on Friday, Angara said that higher institutions of learning generate the body of knowledge vital in improving quality of life and healthcare delivery.

"Graduate studies are at the apex of the education ladder, involving no less than the brightest students devoted to the highest level of research and development," said Angara.

"Graduate schools initiate students, practitioners and researchers to new frontiers of knowledge. Almost all of the most important breakthroughs and discoveries in knowledge have been made at this level," he added.

Angara challenged graduate schools in the country to become true fountains of knowledge. UERMMMC offers Master of Science in Internal Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Health Science Education, Asian Health Practices and Tropical Medicine.

"We used to be the leader in Tropical Diseases research in Asia, but has since been overtaken by our neighbors who invest heavily into R&D," he noted.

The Philippines total health expenditure only amounts to 3.9 percent of gross domestic product or about $45 per capita (in purchasing power parity terms).

As a result, dengue and malaria remain leading causes of morbidity in the country. In fact, the Department of Health has recorded 45,333 dengue cases as of the first week of August. Though this is 33.5 percent lower than the record in the same period last year, an alarming total of 6,000 cases were reported in the past two weeks alone.

Furthermore, only 53 percent of all Filipinos are covered by Philhealth, and the poorest of the poor are not covered at all.

Angara pointed out that the P44.4 billion proposed budget for the Department of Health (DoH) for 2012 will simply not be sufficient to cover the Filipino public's immediate and long-term healthcare needs. And more sadly, the DoH's R&D fund amounts to a measly P34.5 million.

"That's why graduate educational institutions will play a key role in optimizing scant national resources. You have the specialists, skills and knowledge to undertake research into life-saving vaccines, therapies and medical procedures," explained Angara.

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