Banged up health system

THE Philippine health system has always been a curious case either in history and political science.

Numerous scholarly works including that of Reynaldo Ileto and Felino Garcia highlight how the Philippines became a biological battleground and laboratory of Western powers, especially the US.

History almost repeated itself when Dengvaxia, with its rather shaky scientific literature and provenance, was injected in young Filipinos and became the primary suspect in the deaths of some children who never contracted dengue before.

Now, there are moves to deploy Dengvaxia once more because of the dengue outbreak, especially in Western Visayas.

While we wait if history will indeed repeat itself when we once more become guinea pigs of Western science, our public health system is buckling under the weight of thousands of dengue patients, confirmed or otherwise.

One example is our public and private hospitals that are now bursting to the seams with dengue patients. Just think of the situation of laboring mothers and other patients.

Dengue is supposed to be predictable, thus preventable. The health department already established that dengue is now a year round concern because of evolving strains. It also established a 3-year virulence cycle of the infection.

The solution starts with cleanliness in our homes. But it’s lamentable that we only think of cleanups when people get sick then die of a predictable and perhaps preventable ailment. Worse, it takes government directives and even legislation to impose this way of life called cleanliness and hygiene.

Others will say that they are more concerned with their stomachs than cleanups. Yes, it’s true. People hungry with food and opportunities will only think of their livelihoods but a sick body will never earn, thus cleanliness is still an imperative.

On the part of our public health infrastructure, it’s time we rationalize our priorities by doing away with multimillion peso beautification projects and instead focus on genuine and concrete improvements of our hospitals – sufficient hospital beds and ample medicines.

We are at a loss because of dengue. Imagine what happens when a more severe and sudden epidemic hits us. We will stop counting patients and bodies because there will be just too much.