Philhealth assures dengue coverage for members

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) has reassured nonstop benefit payments for dengue, as cases of the pestilent mosquito-borne viral disease continue to increase.

“We are constantly helping to pay for the hospitalization and treatment of every member or dependent admitted due to dengue fever,” said Philhealth president and chief executive officer Dr. Eduardo Banzon.

Philhealth pays P8,000 for each case of dengue fever or simple dengue hemorrhagic fever and P16,000 for every case of dengue hemorrhagic fever with presence of shock.

The Philippines has seen an increase in dengue cases in recent months, according to the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO).

From January to October this year, the Philippines reported 132,046 cases, up 25 percent versus the 105,702 logged in the same 10-month period in 2011.

There is still no approved antiviral or vaccine for the treatment or prevention of dengue, which causes high fever and could lead to internal bleeding and organ failure.

Fluids and blood transfusion are usually the only options in critical cases.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, transmits the dengue virus to humans. The mosquito prefers to feed on humans and usually bites after dawn and before sunset.

Health experts have warned that the Philippines and other countries could face more dengue flare-ups in the years ahead due to harsh climate change, which has heightened the risk of recurring floods that allow the Aedes aegypti mosquito to breed more easily.

Dengue epidemics cause significant morbidity and mortality, social disruption and considerable economic burden in affected areas, both in terms of hospitalization and mosquito control, according to the WHO.

Up to 40 percent of the world’s population, or around 2.5 billion people, are threatened by dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, the WHO said.

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