Healthcare in the Philippines

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Allianz Worldwide Care - Philippines

Introduction

Officially called the Republic of the Philippines, this island nation is situated in Southeast Asia. Its capital is Manila and it has more than seven thousand islands, making it the world’s twelfth most populous country.


Healthcare in the Philippines at a glance

The healthcare system in the Philippines can be considered to be of a good standard, despite the fact that the facilities may not be as impressive as those found in high-end US or European hospitals.

Medical practitioners in the Philippines are graduates from the top universities in the country and most of them have studied in US medical schools. Additionally, there are doctors that have practiced medicine in the US before sharing their expertise in the Philippines. Filipino nurses are also trained by nursing schools that have excellent standards. In fact, a large percentage of Filipino nurses go on to work in the US.

The healthcare system in Philippines is a mixed public-private system.
Public health care is organised in 2 tiers: Primary care is delivered through public health and primary health care centres linked to peripheral barangay health centres (BHCs) or health outposts. Private healthcare services are well-established and growing in Philippines through specialist clinics and private hospitals. The private sector is much larger than the public sector in terms of human, financial and technological resources and caters to 30% of the population. It is structured according to the North American model organised around independent free-standing hospitals, individual medical offices and private clinics, dependent on fee-for-service payments.


Hospitals

Finding the right hospital in the Philippines is not considered too difficult as there are a number of options to choose from. The Philippines has both private and public healthcare institutions as explained above. Most of the government hospitals provide quality healthcare in the same way private hospitals do. Although some people may have misconceptions, most of them are unfounded. The main difference between public and private hospitals are the facilities and technologies offered. Most of the public hospitals would not be equipped to the same standard as the private ones. However, some of the best doctors are serving in the government hospitals. Also, most Filipinos would seek advice from these government hospitals because fees are not charged. Private hospitals are located in key cities throughout the nation and there are also tertiary hospitals that have the latest in medical technologies. However, as you would expect, private hospitals are more expensive.


Emergency Care in the Philippines

Specialist medical and surgical care is available in some facilities in Manila to international standard, but not in all areas. The public emergency system directs most serious emergencies into designated public facilities which may cause logistical and payment issues. ICU care is usually equivalent to international standard in some tertiary public facilities and in a number of private hospitals. Blood and blood products are generally regarded as safe however there are high levels of Hepatitis and HIV in the population. As is generally advised, transfusion should be avoided unless immediately life-saving. Complex trauma and major medical emergencies may require medical evacuation, in cases where local capabilities are exceeded.


Pharmacies

There are numerous pharmacies in the Philippines that provide medicines which have been approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs. Most of the standard pharmacies are manned by professional pharmacists that have studied and trained in top medical schools in the country. There are strict guidelines in relation to prescription drugs; while some countries allow their patients to obtain certain drugs without a prescription, the Filipino pharmacists have stringent directives in relation to the sale of such drugs.


Cost of Healthcare in the Philippines

Generally speaking, hospitals are not that expensive in the Philippines. Medicines are also affordable; both locals and expatriates will attest to this fact. Additionally, in the Philippines, almost ninety percent of the population can speak and understand English. Communication is never a problem when you are in the Philippines. The people are very hospitable and accommodating, the doctors and medical practitioners are friendly and the place is very inviting.

Overall, the healthcare system in the Philippines is affordable, the doctors are well-trained and the nurses are of a high standard.