Like any other third-world country, the Philippines have been struggling in some health issues and one of it is illegal drug use. A lot of Filipinos are addicted to prohibited drugs. However, the Philippine government has dealt with this issue and although there are still some recorded incidents of drug abuse, the number of drug dependents in the Philippines has gradually decreased.
Other concerning health issues in the Philippines, is malnutrition. There have been studies conducted and accordingly, most of the Filipinos that suffer from malnutrition are the poor ones. The Philippine government, thru the Department of Social Welfare and Developments along with the Department of Health has provided projects to help poor Filipinos from starvation.One such big issue is Dengue fever.
Greater investment in healthcare also leads to longer life expectancy, less morbidity and increasing work productivity that results in economic progress.
Over the last two decades, life expectancy at birth in India has increased by approximately double the increase in life expectancy in middle income and high-income countries.
However, the average Indian life expectancy is 15 years less than that of a citizen of a high-income country. Notice the low levels of public expenditures on health in India compared to middle income and high-income countries.
The ratio of India's purchasing power parity-adjusted per capita income to that of middle-income countries is 52 per cent and that of high-income countries is 10.6 per cent. The ratio of India's purchasing power parity-adjusted health expenditure per capita is 35 per cent of middle-income countries and 3.6 per cent of rich countries.
Even allowing for some wasteful expenditure in developed countries, we are certainly under investing in health. Notice the low levels of public expenditures on health in India compared to middle income and high-income countries.
The number of physicians per 1000 people has remained unchanged in India over the last twenty years. Another unique feature in the country is the usage of public health services by the bottom 20 per cent of the population (classified by income), which is only marginally higher than the top 20 per cent of the population.
Hence, there is urgent need to rejuvenate the public healthcare system to ensure that the poor get access to essential medical services.
Though the budget resources are scarce, there is certainly a need to double the public expenditure on health, given the long-term benefits. The emphasis should be on prevention and making essential public health services available to the poor.
About 88 per cent of the pregnant women are anaemic. India is unfortunately leading the world in this risk factor. The surprising issue is that this is not related to income distribution.
Other aspects such as low birth weight babies and child malnutrition are close to the poverty line numbers. While deadly diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV are receiving public attention, the long-term consequences of in utero problems have been neglected.
More disclosure on the part of the private clinics and hospitals must be made mandatory so that the public can assess the quality of medical care and get some understanding of the track record of practitioners and hospitals.
Research has shown substantial medical expenditure occurs during the last two years of a person's life. A broad based hospitalisation catastrophic insurance must be offered to protect individuals in their old age.The benefits clearly defined and properly enforced can minimise fraud and delays in these programmes. Last but not the least, more collaboration is needed between doctors and economists to jointly pursue research and make health economics a robust discipline for specialisation.