MANILA, Philippines — With the costly treatment for tumors as well as head and neck injuries, President Aquino has appealed to doctors to do “more charity work” and ease the burden of less fortunate people.
The President, at the opening of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS) 2010 Global Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in Manila last Sunday night, said he hopes medical specialists would offer their services to poor people with complicated diseases especially those living in far-flung areas.
At the same time, the President said his administration is determined to improve the country's health system, saying his priority is to take care of the poor.
He said the 2011 budget of the Department of Health has been raised by 13.6 percent next year, the bulk of which will go to public health centers.
The government will also expand the coverage of healthcare coverage and benefits of PhilHealth, he added.
More than 192,000 were recently enrolled by the Department of Health during the National PhilHealth Registration Day.
“We will not stop here. In the coming weeks, enrollment of more indigent families will continue as we have proposed P3.5 billion in the DoH budget for this purpose. Our aim is to cover about 5 million Filipino families in three years or less,” he said.
He said government health facilities would also be upgraded through new equipment and competent health workers.
“This will enable our government to better respond to the health needs of our countrymen," he said.
In the event that coincided with the 54th Annual Convention of the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (PSO–HNS), the President said he sympathizes with people afflicted with cancer and their families, citing the death of his mother, President Corazon Aquino, last year.
He acknowledged that treatment being provided by the otorhinolaryngologists and head and neck surgeons are “out of reach for most Filipinos.”
"I am sure you have devoted much time and effort to practice your profession. But let me make this request: please find the time to engage in more charity work. I know that many of you already do this. But I ask your help in doing more. The more you engage in charity, the more we can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for the poor. I am not asking you to impoverish yourselves, but merely to give more for your country," he said.
Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with tumors, including the study of their development, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Otolaryngology, on the other hand, involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.
The President said it was time for doctors who have obtained many blessings throughout their lives to “give back by sharing to our poor countrymen your knowledge and expertise in treating complicated diseases.
“I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected in return,” he added.
Despite the medical advances in fighting cancer, the President noted that people are still afflicted by the dreaded disease. "I sympathize with them and their families. Cancer claimed my mother’s life, so I know what it is like to have a loved one go through the suffering caused by cancer,” he said.
Aquino said he has realized that the medical profession requires not only skill but dedication and genuine compassion among doctors and hospitals. “It is truly a noble endeavor to combat cancer and to save those afflicted with it. I salute all of you here for choosing this vocation," he said.
Genalyn Kabiling, Manila Bulletin