The Department of Health (DOH) spearheads the establishment of the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club. This will be launched nationwide to enhance the initiatives in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and will serve as a support group in communities to disseminate information and ensure that appropriate management is provided to all patients.
NCDs like cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, lung disease, and cancer killed 38 million people worldwide in 2012–16 million of them are under the age of 70 (WHO Global Status Report in Non-Communicable Diseases 2014). Unhealthy habits such as smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol abuse, and unhealthy diet have sparked an epidemic of diseases that together constitute the leading cause of death.
Non-Communicable Diseases in the Philippines
“The current dilemma in addressing NCD in the Philippines is that patients usually seek treatment in hospitals when they are already sick or already in long-term complications. In order to fight NCD, it is important to practice healthy lifestyle choices early. Also, early detection and care using cost-effective and sustainable health care interventions that are integrated in primary health care facilities are essential.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.
In the Philippines, deaths related to NCD are attributed to: cardiovascular diseases (33%), cancer (10%), diabetes (6%), and chronic respiratory diseases (5%) (WHO Report on NCD Country Profiles 2014). The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) National Nutrition Survey showed that there is an increasing prevalence in the following behavioral factors from 2008 to 2013: diabetes from 4.8% to 5.4% and overweight among adults from 26.6% to 31.1% while decreasing trends for hypertension from 25.3% to 22.3% and current adult smokers from 31.0% to 25.4%.
DOH recognizes the importance of addressing NCDs, and initiates the promotion of healthy lifestyle through ‘Pilipinas, Go 4 Health’. The primary focus of this advocacy is to promote and educate behavioral risk factors that may lead to NCD such as ‘Go Sigla’ for physical activity, ‘Go Slow sa Tagay’ for moderate consumption of alcohol, ‘Go Sustansya’ on proper diet, and ‘Go Smoke-free’ to address the harmful effects of smoking.
Signing up for the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club
To be part of the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club, the client needs to consult the nearest health center or primary health care facility to undergo assessment, screening, and management using the Philippine Package of Essential NCD Intervention (PhilPEN) protocol. Once the patient is diagnosed to have hypertension and/or diabetes, he will be enrolled to the club. Member can access DOH drugs for hypertension (Losartan/Amlodipine/Metoprolol) and diabetes (Metformin). Activities that promote healthy lifestyle to control blood pressure and sugar and further prevent complications will be some of the benefits among others.
In addition, an expansive PhilHealth coverage and utilization are being implemented along with efforts to upgrade health facilities nationwide. Blood Pressure Apparatus are distributed to Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) while glucometers will be provided to every health care facility. These interventions will facilitate risk assessment of community members and ensure regular follow-up of diagnosed hypertensive and diabetic patients.
“Huwag nating ipagsawalang bahala ang pagkakaroon ng sakit. Habang maaga, alamin natin ang mga paraan upang ito ay maiwasan. Ipalaganap natin ang tamang impormasyon sa ating komunidad upang ating makamit ang Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.” Garin concluded.