HealthJustice, a public health policy think tank, supports the efforts for sustainable health promotion programs in the Philippines. Irene Reyes, the organization’s Managing Director said, “We need to take a proactive approach in addressing health issues. With the current rise of lifestyle diseases, now is the time for us to shift the focus from treatment of illnesses to prevention of diseases.”
Filipinos are suffering from lack of preventive measures. Seven out of the ten top leading causes of death in the country were due to non-communicable diseases or lifestyle diseases based on a 2009 National Statistics Office report. These diseases include heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes among others.
“The current problem of increasing lifestyle diseases can be addressed through a sustained and comprehensive health promotion program. We need a collective effort in doing health promotion that will involve all government agencies as well as civil society organizations and representatives from both health and non-health sectors. But, we need sustainable funding for these programs,” Reyes added.
Ang NARS Representative Leah Paquiz filed yesterday House Bill No. 4975 entitled “An Act Establishing Health Promotion Fund and Health Promotion Commission to Oversee Implementation of Health Promotion and for Other Purposes”, to create a commission to oversee an integrated and comprehensive approach to health promotion and to set aside money for long term and sustained health promotion programs.
Reyes said, “We applaud Hon. Paquiz for this visionary measure. This commission will supplement the Department of Health’s efforts by ensuring a sustainable and integrated approach in health promotion.”
Other countries that have established health promotion funds such as Thailand and Australia have seen significant reduction in risk factors related to non-communicable diseases. In Thailand for example, tobacco consumption was reduced by 10% in 6 years and alcohol-related traffic accidents decreased 35% in a year due to their sustained health promotion strategies.
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