Via The Philippine Star: YEARENDER: Yolanda puts public health system to a test. Excerpt:
Super Typhoon Yolanda almost wiped out parts of the Visayas last Nov. 8, putting the country’s public health system to a test.
The world is watching how the Philippine government deals with the calamity, particularly in providing health care to the victims.
According to Health Secretary Enrique Ona, the biggest challenge for the health sector is to rehabilitate the medical facilities damaged by the typhoon, which left 6,109 people dead and 1,779 others still missing as of last count.
“The biggest problem now is really bringing back to normalcy the health facilities and health services in the areas hit by the typhoon. It’s not an easy task,” he said.
An estimate of the Department of Heath (DOH) showed that 432 health facilities in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Samar were either destroyed or damaged by Yolanda. The damage on healthcare facilities was estimated at P1.17 billion.
Some P1.4 billion will be needed not only to repair these facilities, but to prevent the spread of diseases and to provide affected residents with medicine for hypertension, heart ailments and diabetes.
But Ona expressed hope that with help from the private sector and international organizations, the government will be able to restore health services in the affected communities.
“It may take time but we’ll eventually get there,” he said.