Next admin’s top concerns: Poverty, health

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MANILA, May 5, 2016 – Former Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit said the next administration needs to address urgent and important issues like accessiblity of health services as well as poverty.

“There are people in the cities, provinces, the rich, poor and with people with certain, specific needs, and people with specific illnesses,” said Dr. Dayrit in an exclusive interview at the sidelines of the “Health for Juan & Juana” colloqium at the Asian Institute of Management Wednesday.

He added the challenge for the next government is to see how the whole system works and how to provide everyone with the services they need.

‘Biggest buzzword’

Now working as Dean of Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, Dayrit said the next government should address poverty more aggressively as it is the “biggest buzzword in social determinants.”

“If you’re poor, chances are you have less chances of being healthy and lesser access to health services,” he explained.

He said the country’s leadership should successfully address poverty.

Dayrit said “while the current administration tries to address poverty by raising the country’s economy through its Gross National Product and the social net through the 4Ps” there is still much to be done.

Less healthy, fewer services

He also said despite the Philippines’ investment grade ratings from international agencies, poverty has remained a major factor in determining whether a person is healthy or not.   This is because of the fact that poverty increases a person’s chances of being less healthy as well as restricts access to required health services.

Asked what they teach medical students, Dayrit said they envision medical graduates not only good as clinicians but also ones who are motivated to serve in the countryside and to acquire leadership skills to contribute to improve the system.

“We would like to create physicians who will not only think of seeing patients but also be concerned of the bigger picture, treat patients and improve the system where they are, especially in the less served areas in the country,” he said.

Dayrit served the government as health secretary from February 19,2001 to May 2005.  (Melo M. Acuña / CBCPNews)

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