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HELEN SARITA

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 4/15/2016 |



SONGSOPTOK
INTERVIEW WITH HELEN SARITA
HEALTHCARE – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE?

SONGSOPTOK: Do you consider primary healthcare to be a fundamental right? Is it deemed as such in the society you live in? Please explain your answer with a few examples if possible.

HELEN SARITA:  My answer is yes. I definitely consider every human being has the right  to a standard of life adequate of health  In my own observation, without being updated with our government’s latest program for health, our society is now enjoying healthcare program like what we called Philhealth


SONGSOPTOK: What is the system of healthcare in the country and the society you live in? Is it a just and equitable system in the sense that all citizens enjoy the same benefits across economic and social classes?

HELEN SARITA:   In previous years only the employed people are benefited of this kind of program into which an employers has to contribute certain amount to be remitted to Philhealth Office for healthcare of their employees as it is government mandate. But it doesn’t mean, when one is confined he/she will enjoy totally free hospitalization. Family members of the Philhealth card holder aging not more than sixty (60) years old can enjoy the benefits too as beneficiaries. There is a certain amount that being shouldered by Philhealth and the rest from the patients pocket especially if they are confined in private hospitals. Most average people and in higher class of the society go to private hospitals as they are being taken cared well compared to government hospitals where there are a lot of patients to attend to. Some patients lay on beds in the hallway of the hospitals as there are no rooms to accommodate them.

Now, the government was enhancing the health program after year 2000 I might not be accurate with the date or year but as far as I was aware that the government introduced Philhealth to the indigent people and it became a big help to the less fortunate ones.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that free healthcare cannot be a right, but it can be a privilege and a shared burden of sacrifice for the sake of the social contract?

HELEN SARITA:   As I have answered in the first question it must be a right of every individual to enjoy free healthcare. I remember I have spoken one Internist when I was a medical representative during my coverage it was like in the year 2005. I am just setting his words as an example. He is already a Physician by profession but he is taking up nursing aiming to work abroad. I asked him why there are a lot of Physicians in our country nowadays taking up nursing He set his patients as an example. The senior citizen here in our country find difficult to sustain themselves in seeing Doctors when they have health issues for financial reason. They need to ask assistance from their children in situation with health regards. Unlike in rich countries like United States of America and Europe they have no issues like this. That was what they were after to why they want to go out to work abroad People in our country when given a chance would go to work to big and rich countries for health security reason.


SONGSOPTOK: What, in your opinion, should be the role of the government for ensuring equal healthcare to all citizens? What role is played by the government of the country you live in?

HELEN SARITA:  In my own little opinion, the government should firstly prioritize health above all. Education also is a must but every student in the society is affected with their studies when members of their family and they themselves are unhealthy. In fairness with our government and its higher officials, they have brilliant ideas for the people. I salute to the great ideas they shared to people as they are competing each other’s flat forms All ideas connect to each other. Health program or any programs implemented by the government need sincere and active action We need to enhance our service to the people in order to compete other countries. I don’t believe we couldn’t make it especially if we keep our eyes to control corrupt governance. All we need is a loyal and honest officials to have a healthy people mentally and physically.


SONGSOPTOK: According to the data published by World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 16 000 children under the age of 5 die every day in the world (5.9 million in 2015) from infectious, neonatal or nutritional conditions. Is this a reality in the country you live in? If so, what would your suggestions of improvement be?

HELEN SARITA:    I am answering this question so late at night. I can’t search for the specific number of children dying daily due to such illness in our country. I can only see how health workers religiously work for this when I got the time watching television  I can sense they are so active with their service and I believe we have minimal cases like this or just average. DOH trying to raise greater heights in their program towards inspection and in fact there are a lot that we need to follow with their strict implementation about infection control. One example of their mandates is putting hand sanitizers in a hospital lobby and hallways. This is just one of the programs of infection control team. If there is to improve, I would suggest that they will reach places to educate small communities about cleanliness.


SONGSOPTOK: “Free access to healthcare is a fundamental human right. Access to free healthcare is not” – do you agree with this statement? Please explain your choice.

HELEN SARITA:   Free access to healthcare is apparently not only my choice but a choice of everyone. Health is wealth, so no matter how wealthy a person is, if he or she has a poor health, it is his/her health will consume his wealth. It is always a right for every human being to enjoy our beautiful world and we can only enjoy it if we are in good health and in good spirit.


SONGSOPTOK: How important is the role of the private sector for providing healthcare and related facilities in your country? What it is your opinion about it?

HELEN SARITA:   As I mentioned earlier that it is a must for private sector to contribute certain amount as it is mandated by the law of our country. Yet, besides from this benefit some big companies give health insurance to their employees renewable every year.  It’s a big thing already for the employees that their employers show them this kind of concern which significant to every family.


SONGSOPTOK: Are charitable and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) active in the domain of public health? If yes, then in what spheres? Do you think that the civil society, either independently or through these organizations, should become the prime actor for ensuring healthcare for all?

HELEN SARITA:   Yes, charitable institutions and NGO play actively in the domain of public health. But we could not rely fully to them as the prime actor for ensuring healthcare for all. They can only be a helping arm of the society and that they are not obliged to do what the government’s responsibility towards the health of its country men.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare companies are responsible, to a certain extent, for the widely variable quality of healthcare in different countries? Can you please illustrate your reply with some examples?

HELEN SARITA:  Yes the can be of great help and partly responsible not absolutely responsible. We can’t deny the fact that they are running these companies for business If the government in different countries could make a tie up with them in return while they are having business in each country they are in to, then this could be possible. Example, they can make business in our country tax free provided they will give good price affordable to people or companies that are interested in their products and services for healthcare and medicines for pharmaceuticals.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that adopting the Social Security model implemented in a lot of countries in Europe which ensures primary health coverage to all citizens and is financed by the totality of the working population can be relevant and efficient in all countries?

HELEN SARITA:  I strongly believe we need to adopt this Social Security model implemented in these big and rich countries. This is indeed efficient in all countries and this kind of concept is what we long for to have in our very own country Philippines. We can stay in our country very much contently and no worries where to go when illness will one day visit us. Some are afraid to go to hospitals not because of the pains brought by needles but because of the pain of pockets.
My husband got stroke ten (10) years ago, and he is coming in and out to the hospital I really spend such amount of money when he is having seizure and advised to be confined, I need to spare amount for his regular check up, maintenance and laboratories when his physician advised. This will be a less burden anymore if we adopt the Social Security model implemented in countries like in Europe, America and other rich countries.


HELEN SARITA:  IS A WOMAN WITH A VERY POSITIVE OUTLOOK IN LIFE, GIVING HER BEST IN ANYTHING THAT SHE DOES ULTIMATELY, VERY FLEXIBLE AND REALLY TREASURES FRIENDSHIP. SHE NEVER DISCRIMINATE PEOPLE. SHE IS NOT ONLY GOOD TO THOSE WHO ARE ALSO GOOD TO HER, SHE ALWAYS LISTENS AND GIVES ADVISES, A FIGHTER AND SHE BELIEVES THAT NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE IF ONE JUST KEEPS THE DEEPEST FAITH.  SHE EXPRESSES HER FEELING BY WRITING POEMS. VERY PASSIONATE TO DO COMMUNITY SERVICE LIKE HELPING PEOPLE CONFINED IN THE HOSPITAL, TO ASSIST PEOPLE IN NEED OF MEDICINE AND GIVING SCHOOL SUPPLIES TO THE INDIGENT CHILDREN.
We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)


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