Melissa Palma, MD MPH; Maria Carissa Alejandro, MD MBA
Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Cook County Health
Strategy and Communications Director, AC Health
The Philippines is a Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people where health disparities are a major hindrance to the country’s economic and social development. Nearly 1.5 million families are pushed into poverty per year due to overwhelming health expenditures. Major challenges to healthcare in the Philippines that may be addressed by Family Medicine include a health system ill-equipped for chronic care, decreased supply of domestic healthcare workers, and Increased demand for health services.
Poor working conditions and comparatively low compensation in the public and private sectors are major push factors causing Filipino nurses and physicians to seek employment abroad. For example, 85% of the nursing workforce practices overseas. This poster describes efforts to promote the establishment and promotion of Family Medicine as a medical subspecialty in order to address primary care shortages and promote access to care in low- to middle-income communities.
Low government expenditures on healthcare and large out of pocket costs are factors that reduce access to healthcare for poor, lower, and middle-income Filipinos. Promotion of Family Medicine as a specialty requires investment from both the public and private sector, as well as patient education on the importance of preventive healthcare services and innovative financing models.