Health Promotion and Non-communicable Diseases in the Philippines: Current Status and Priority Policy Interventions and Actions

Health is one of the most important concerns among Filipinos as each of us strongly values our health and well-being. However, many of us have paid no attention to the countless choices confronting us about the way we live, work and play that can potentially damage our bodies and our minds, or even cost our lives. Oftentimes, it is only when we are sick, injured, disabled or faced with the potential loss of productivity, wellbeing, or life itself that we truly recognize the importance of health. But health care is never without personal cost, especially in a health system like the Philippines where the means of paying health services is overwhelmingly through out-of-pocket expenditure. Confronted with such situation, a significant majority of our people turn to the government for support. But the reality is, health care, specifically curative and rehabilitative care, requires tremendous resources and presents us with a critical dilemma on how scarce resources will be invested in health and who will get to benefit from those resources. Such condition has brought us to major service gaps and poor access by a large segment of the population, resulting in an ever widening inequity in health. For this reason, health care consistently rate as an important political, economic, social and ethical concern among our national and local leadership.