Health and Poverty

It’s very surprising how different websites and health magazines are flaunting how they are geared to promote modern health and lifestyle. They claim to understand the needs of families, men women, teens and children when in fact they are just promoting artificial foods, books, vitamins, dietary pills and other forms of products.

Digging deeper on the issue, we know the real score, they are there for one reason…Profit not Health. Are they really serious that our health is their main concern? I doubt it.

Health is a worldwide issue and it’s agonizing to know the sad truth that the very people that we’re depending on to promote and create programs for a healthy living and environment are the one who are destroying it. They are the one who are launching war from one country to another leaving thousand of casualties.

Philippines is one of the poorest country in Asia, despite of its richness in natural resources, millions of Filipinos are surviving hunger everyday. While the present government is claiming that health and other social services is one of their priorities, records will not conform to it.

Based on statistical data, the United Nations ranked the Philippines 90th out of 177 countries for the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2007. The HDI is a survey on the quality of life of citizens in UN member countries. It measures life expectancy, educational attainment, and GDP per capita. It was developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a standard means of measuring human development, a concept, which according to the UNDP, refers to the process of widening the options of persons, giving them greater opportunities for education, health care, income, employment, etc. It was also reported that in 2006, infant mortality rate in the Philippines is 24 per 1,000 live births.

According to the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), ten mothers die daily of pregnancy-and child-related causes. The group also said that seven out of ten Filipinos die without medical attention. Malnutrition and hunger is one of the major problems in our country and it is escalating everyday. A survey by IBON Foundation in April this year showed that 75.3 percent of families could not buy enough food.

Despite this devastating fact, The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed its budget allocation for health.

Year

Health

Debt Interest Payments

Defense

2001

13.64 B

181.60 B

32.78 B

2002

14.49 B

185.86 B

38.91 B

2003

12.40 B

226.41 B

44.42 B

2004

12.88 B

271.53 B

43.85 B

2005

12.93 B

301.69 B

44.19 B

2007

11.66 B

318.18 B

49.34 B

2008

19.77 B

269.85 B

50.93 B

Average allocation per year

13.84 B

257.10 B

43.58 B

While I was typing this article, the news airing on our TV caught my attention and stopped me. 24 Oras, a news and current affairs program of GMA 7, one of our local TV is making a report about the poorest municipalities in the Philippines and according to Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) NCR is on top of the list. Very poor families are scattered in different places of Manila, considering that Manila is one of the most modern places in the Philippines.

My hub took these photos today, while he is on his way to school to deliver students’ IDs. His way was blocked by these people swarming around the corner, curiously, he made his way to know what’s going on, and it’s the same scenario that we see on TV everyday, these people are patiently waiting to buy NFA rice. I told him jokingly why he didn’t buy a kilo for our dinner. Well it’s not a really a joke as we are also surviving hunger everyday. We are having hard time to make both ends meet.

Due to continuous oil price hikes which trigger unstoppable price increase in commodities, we are poorer now than we were 2 years ago. We can’t even buy a half cavan of rice unlike in the past that we already have a sack ready even before our rice dispenser runs out of rice. We are already using coal to save gas and my kids are complaining of eating noodles for their breakfast.

The only luxury that we have in our house now is my internet connection because I am using this to earn a living. But the kids are having a hard time in adjusting but I always console them that things will get better soon and I know that we have to double our work and I have to spend sleepless nights in my online works to do this.

Just like the many poor families in the Philippines, I am taking my sincere call to the government to prioritize health and employment, for a strong republic will remain a dream if these issues will not be properly addressed. And lastly, how can it be a strong republic when its people are weak, sick and dying of hunger?