MANILA – Starting next year, five million Filipino families belonging to the poorest of the poor category will be provided with two common medications in their homes by the Department of Health (DOH).
According to Health Secretary Janette L. Garin, the families identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as belonging to the lowest “2 quintiles” of the population will be given one box each of paracetamol and mefenamic acid medicines.
The term “quintiles” is defined as a statistical value of a data set that represents 20% of a given population. The first quartile represents the lowest fifth of the data (1-20%); the second quartile represents the second fifth (21%-40%), etc.
“Bibigyan namin sila ng isang kahon ng paracetamol at isang kahon ng mefenamic acid (medications),” Secretary Garin said in an interview.
Paracetamol is used for the treatment of fever or reducing pain.
On the other hand, mefenamic acid is used for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, including menstrual pain.
The DOH Chief said the medications will be given to each family one time per year through the Family Development Sessions (FDS) being conducted by the DSWD.
Dr. Garin explained that the distribution of the free medications is a part of the program to ensure that aside from the availability in DOH Rural Health Units (RHUs) of the commonly used medicines, the health services get nearer to the poor or right inside their doorsteps.
“Iyong commonly used medications, ibibigay na sa bawat bahay ng mahihirap na pamilya para kung mangangailangan sila ay makukuha na rin nila doon,” she said.
The DOH official said that such a move is among the programs that they will be giving attention next year to ensure that Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (KP) or the universal healthcare program of the government is being felt and accessed by every Filipino in line with the thrust of the Aquino administration that no one will be left behind in reaping the fruits of good governance or inclusive economic development.
Another program that the DOH will be doing starting next year and is awaited by the people very much is the start of distribution of medicines for diabetic and hypertensive patients.
Secretary Garin said that the RHUs in the DOH Regional Offices are targeting to register three million hypertensive and one million diabetic patients with the Hypertension and Diabetic clubs nationwide.
In addition, all Filipinos suffering from such illnesses belonging to any categories whether poor or not are welcome to join in the clubs and avail themselves of free medications such as Losartan, Amlodipine, or Metoprolol for hypertension; and Metformin for diabetes.
Secretary Garin clarified that only the above-mentioned medications will be made available for those that will be registered in the two clubs.
To become members, patients must go to the RHUs so that they can be checked and evaluated by the physicians therein.
Secretary Garin said that through the hypertension and diabetic clubs, members will be encouraged to know more about healthy lifestyles and ensure that their medications are taken regularly to avoid their conditions from going to worst or getting complicated with various illnesses as preventive steps.
Once listed as regular members, the conditions of the patients will be monitored by barangay health workers (BHWs) who are also being trained by DOH as a way to assist in the regular monitoring of the blood pressure and blood sugar of the patients.
Their conditions will be further evaluated by the physicians as they get involved in the club.
To do this, the DOH is equipping the BHWs with blood pressure apparatus and glucometer sets after they finish the training successfully.
Meanwhile, the DOH Chief also said that they will be choosing the poorest patients needing insulin medication for their diabetic conditions.
Moreover, she also disclosed that the agency is also preparing for the creation of Arthritis Club very soon or in the first quarter of 2016 to benefit those suffering from gout problems.
She said that members of the club will be receiving free Allopurinol amd Colchicine medicines.