Government Hospitals In The Philippines Are In Sorry State

THIS is the narrative mentioned in the previous blog post, sent via email to various mailing lists and forums hosted by the Yahoo Groups on October 26, 2006.

SubjectGovernment hospitals in the Philippines are in sorry state

People are dying in government hospitals in the Philippines, mostly poor, because of lack of ready medicine to salve the patients’ ill conditions. And this is just one of the many reasons why the poor are dying.

When my only brother was admitted to the Antique Provincial Hospital I was horrified at what I witnessed. Not only was the building in a sorry state, it also lacked rooms to put the patients in. Patients, all pitiful, were lying in ramshackle beds in the hallway and corridors!

What really mortified me is the hospital’s inability to advance the needs of the patients. Was waiting long in the ER for my brother to be fixed with IV fluids because we still had to produce the needed IV set and bottle of IV fluids! And my nephew took a while to return to the ER because there was no available IV medicine in the hospital’s pharmacy and he needed to go to the nearest pharmacy in town!

The following day, a patient fronting my brother’s bed in a congested free-ward section (no available rooms even in the private) was gone. When asked, I was told that the patient died because of the lacking life-saving IV medications. Accordingly the prescription had been given since morning and by the time (late evening) the wife managed to produce the needed money to buy the medicine, the husband was already dead! And an aide told me that it’s a common occurrence in the hospital. Quite a lot of patients die because of the lacking life-saving medicines. The hospital itself lacks a number of sophisticated life-saving and diagnostic equipment or gadgets.

Remember the “mano-mano” respirator used on my late brother while confined the second time in the govt hospital? And the need to take him to Iloilo for the CT scan?

For this reason why I’ve been claiming in the past that I will die in the Philippines. Suffering from a lot of body ailments in need of continuous follow-up and expensive medications (most are to be taken for life), I really won’t last a year in the Philippines had I been permanently residing there!

In the past 19 years, I’ve been shouldering the hospitalizations and other medical needs of my immediate family, siblings and their children included. During my mother’s amputation of her leg in May 2000 and the subsequent numerous hospitalizations and treatment for her breast cancer until she died in February 2002, my resources almost got depleted. And this latest ordeal with my brother, I tell you that I was forced to sell a piece of land (with a right to repurchase in 3 years’ time) dear to me. I even sold some pieces of gold jewelry and did something which I’ve never done before in my whole life: pawn my gold and jewels! I preferred to sell the items, and there were some who are interested to buy but people in the Philippines, so it seems, have no money to spare! And would you believe? I even sold a carabao! Had the 3 cows not pregnant they could have been sold as well.

I’ve been jobless since 2002 and I can’t impose too much on my husband (as if I’ve not imposed on him already in the past, hehehe . . .). He can give only as much. In fact he told me frankly 2 days ago that after we are paid with all the money borrowed for my brother’s hospitalization and other needs (his body still has to be buried, and the price of the coffin, OMG!), he won’t dole out anymore. They are on their own, he said!

That made me into deep thinking and planning, and concocting ideas as to where I will get the finances needed for my family’s future health needs. My youngest sister who is mentally ill and dependent on me for support, he said, he will continue to help. But aside from that, no more, he said! I can’t blame him of course! It is in fact very rare for a Kuwaiti to give financial assistance to his wife’s relatives.

Lucky are the family members who have relatives abroad. It is an accepted reality that the first person these people run to in case of emergency is a relative overseas, if they have any, that is. I’m sure you all have experienced one time or another spending for a loved one in the Philippines in need of hospital care. We are all on the same boat!

But what about those who have no one to turn to? Our government is there alright and should be able to provide the needs of the people. But as my husband said, even the fund for buying medicines to be supplied to government hospitals goes to the pocket of the corrupt officials and politicians!

Can we do something about this? Am open for suggestion and am willing enough to do my share of help.

Freda in Kuwait

About Author

Freda Editha O. Contreras
Writing is a God-given talent which I try to utilize the good way. I used it as a means to earn a living, my very first job after graduating from college, when I got hired as an Information Writer by the Provincial Government of Antique through Governor Enrique A. Zaldivar in January 1982. By profession, I am a Registered Nurse, and was only able to practice it when I got recruited to work in a private hospital in Kuwait. This was in November 1987 and since then I have been living in Kuwait, now retired since June 2002. Because of my knack in writing I got hired in 1994 to write for Kuwait Times and later became an Editor of 'Pinoy News' a weekly supplement of KT. In March 1996 I published the very first independent Filipino newspaper in Kuwait and the Gulf bannered as Pinoy Expat News or PEN. The paper lasted for only 10 weekly issues. This was followed by another publication and came out first as an insert of an ad paper and later as a separate tabloid. I used then 'Pinoy News' as it was my idea the first time it was used for Kuwait Times. This again failed and produced only three weekly issues. I then turned to the Internet and in 1999 I got hired as a Contributing Editor of, a writers' portal on the web. The last of my articles was published December 31, 2002 but my topic 'Overseas Filipino Workers' was still visible until January 2006. All the 38 articles I wrote have been compiled into a book which I published in August 2007. I discovered blogging in 2006 but was not really serious about my writing. I wrote according to my whim. Having this blog under my own domain name is now a welcome development and I plan to concentrate again in writing. As is commonly said: "A writer will always be a writer."

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