Lawmakers seek 50% discount to children medical services

CHILDREN six year old and below may soon enjoy a 50 percent  discount  on all medical services in government hospitals should congress approve a bill pending in congress.

Bayan Muna Party-list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño filed House Bill (HB) 4125: “An act granting fifty percent discount to children six years old and below on all medical services in government hospitals.”

The bill seeks to address the medical needs of children coming from indigent families by mandating a fifty percent (50%) discount on all medical services in all government hospitals in the country.

This measure likewise seeks to lower infant and child mortality rate as a form of immediate relief to the majority of underprivileged and health-deprived Filipino children, the two lawmaker said.

Record shows the Philippines ranks 86th among 190 countries with the highest mortality rate for children below five years old. According to the 2008 United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an average of 32 Filipino children (per 1,000 livebirths) die before they reach the age of five. Said data almost estimates the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 34 Filipino children (per 1,000 livebirths) who die before reaching the age of five years. Throughout the world, more than 27,000 children under the age of five die everyday mostly from mostly preventable causes.

Available data from the Department of Health reveal that infections diseases still account for more than half of the 10 leading causes of child mortality across three different age groups (1 to 4 years, 5 to 9 years, and 10 to 14 years old).

Most of these diseases that afflict young Filipinos, according to the two, are all preventable and treatable in nature, if only they can access health care services. The situation is made worse by the chronic unevenness of economic resources and opportunities for social mobility. In the process, many succumb to illness because they cannot afford medication and hospital expenses, let alone basic provisions such as food, the two lawmaker said.

An average hospital bill amounts to three times that of a minimum monthly salary based on National Capital Region (NCR) standards. Likewise, according to the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), sixty percent (60%) of Filipinos have no access to health care at all. The government health budget has not increased significantly in many years.

The staggering rate of child mortality and state of children remain a challenge that needs to be addressed. The future of this nation rests on the chances of survival of our young generation,they said.

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