IN HIS message that accompanies the proposed government budget for next year, President Benigno C. Aquino III notes that the allocation for health is 13.6 percent higher than 2010’s P29.3 billion (According to the 2010 General Appropriations Act though, only P28.7 billion was allocated to the Health Department).
Yet if one were to compare health’s share of the budget for this year and what the corresponding figure could be in the next, the difference isn’t much.
For 2010, the health allocation is 1.8 percent of the P1.54-trillion national purse. For 2011, the Aquino administration is proposing P32.62 billion for health –as indicated in the proposed National Expenditure Program — which is 1.9 percent of the P1.64-trillion national budget. The increase in terms of share in the total budget then would amount to just a tenth of a percentage point.
Indicative List of ‘Midnight’ Appointments by ex-President Arroyo, Feb. 19 to May 5, 2010
Office of the President, Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations
Source: Former Senior Government Officials
IT’S A shimmery, shiny substance that seems to have a mind of its own when held between one’s fingers. In the Philippines, it is commonly found in thermometers that are widely used in hospitals to check on patients’ temperatures or are sold over the counter for household use. Other medical devices, in fact, still use elemental or metallic mercury — even if this is a known toxic substance that can be absorbed by the skin and can easily penetrate biological membranes, including the blood-brain barrier. When inhaled, mercury vapors can cause neurological and behavioral disorders, and sometimes can lead to death. Even at low doses, these vapors can have harmful effects on the kidneys, and the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems.
THE USUALLY frenzied Recto district in downtown Manila slows down on Sundays, as schools and most shops take a day off. At the Arranque market, however, Sunday is as busy as any other day of the week. Home to numerous pet shops, Arranque is astir seven days a week as buyers and sellers haggle amid cages containing yelping puppies, hamsters running inside their plastic play wheels, and parrots cloaked in a rainbow of feathers that seem as soft as felt.
ALLAN EVANGELISTA of Quezon City signed up with the Doctors to the Barrio program last year despite suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, an incurable disease of the heart muscle that actor Aga Muhlach introduced to Filipinos through his 2004 movie “All My Life.”
THE YOUNG mother was frantic. A seven-month-old baby was burning with fever in her arms, barely able to breathe. The doctor at the rural health unit quickly attended to the child, who was suffering from serious respiratory tract infection. But she had no medicine to give the baby: her supply of Ventolin or salbutamol, which would have given the infant instant relief, had run out.
WHEN RCHARD Lariosa passed the medical board exam in late 2001, he did one thing most new doctors would not even think of. Then 26, Lariosa passed up residency training and applied at the Department of Health (DOH) to be a barrio doctor.
Eight months later, the young doctor was on an outrigger to Tagapul-an, a fifth-class mountainous island town in Western Samar oft-buffeted by the fickle, perilous amihan and habagat, or the northeast and southwest monsoons.
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