Now we are looking at the consequence of delayed and slow intervention by the government, a sudden and sharp increase in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. And at the rate that new cases are being diagnosed monthly, HIV/AIDS I fear might become an epidemic in this country. One must remember that at present times, the only time that a case of HIV/AIDS ends is when that afflicted person dies as complete cure is far from access. It really is bothersome and fearsome to look at the graph of new cases monthly. For the year 2012, monthly newly diagnosed cases has breached the 200 mark, and these are only from the reported and accidentally diagnosed cases. I strongly believe that there are still people with HIV/AIDS that fears to be identified on the loose.
(For the Feb 2012 DOH Data on HIV/AIDS/STI, visit the site: http://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/NEC_HIV_Feb-AIDSreg2012.pdf )
Suddenly, Malacañan is alarmed. They issued statement saying that the Department of Health must intensify its campaign against the illness. Good, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Look at the dilemma where DOH stands. BUDGET. For the year 2012, the WHO suggested that the PH government should allocate about 400B to DOH. But DOH only asked for about 90B for their annual budget. However, Malacañan only approved about 40B. This budget goes to improvement of some hospitals, medical supplies, maintenance, what have you. And how does this budget translate to?
When I rotated at a government hospital, we had one dressing tray for all our patients, for the entire day. That dressing tray includes a povidone iodine for cleaning patient’s wounds. I’d be thankful if I only have 5 patients in my care as the supply may last till the last patient. But for those who have 20 patients lined up, after the fifth patient, the supply runs out. And when you go back to the central supply room for replenishment, it would be a miracle if you still can get some. Otherwise, the poor patients have to buy their own antiseptic solution or worse, the doctors have to shell out from their personal funds, just for their patients to have their wounds cleaned and taken cared of. (kakarampot na nga ang sweldo, magdodonate ka pa para sa pasyente). Also, try to enter the restrooms of the government hospitals. You’d be lucky if it smells good, if there’s water to flush down the johns, or if the floor is regularly cleaned. During my student days too, laboratory tests and antibiotics used to be free. But lately I have learned that patients have to pay those on their own already. So if a patient who had a head trauma needs an immediate CT scan but he doesn’t have a budget of it, poor he. I can go on and on… but the bottom line is, government/DOH hospitals are existing on meager budgets. (I don’t have the intention to speak ill of government hospitals but I want to share my personal experience for others to picture what does it mean by a very low DOH budget).
Now here comes Malacañan wanting DOH to do something about the alarming HIV/AIDS cases. I wonder if with this concern comes additional budget? Other daily concerns of the government hospitals can not be funded well, what more of the HIV campaign? Where does Malacañan expect DOH to get fundings for this program? Surely Malacañan is aware that HIV/AIDS can’t be addressed by faith healing… Funding is badly needed.
And I heard a rumor that Bill Gates will one day stop subsidizing for free anti-HIV medications. I hope I am wrong and it is just a rumor but if it happens, this will be another big challenge for the DOH.
Why not pass the RH bill now? Why not railroad its passage and enforcement as well? If the present administration is so passionate about impeaching the chief justice, why not equally devote time and effort for the immediate passage of this bill? According to the LEDAC (whatever this stands for) RH Bill is a priority bill. Hurray to that! And Malacañan should also realize that more people will benefit from the passage of RH Bill than when Corona gets convicted.