The low priority the Arroyo government places on health has branded the Philippines among the worst in the world when it comes to providing health services to its people, according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its World Health Statistics 2007, gave the Philippines dismal rankings in various health provision indicators.

Among 192 countries the Philippines ranks 153rd in terms of government spending on health as a share of a country’s total health spending. Filipinos have increasingly relied on out of pocket expenses on health, as against government allocation.

The country also ranks 156th in terms of the share of the government budget going to health.

In the proposed 2008 national budget, only 1.5% of the total budget will go to health. Total health budget for 2008 is P22.9 billion, equivalent to just 0.31% of GDP. Health budget was marginally better at 0.58% of GDP in 1997 and 0.74% in 1990.

However, health budgets still fall well below the 5% of GDP that should be committed to health spending recommended by the WHO.

IBON points out that the per capita health spending in the proposed 2008 budget is just P253 per Filipino, further highlighting how government is taking the least responsibility to meet its citizens’ health needs.


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