Health Care In The Philippines

Close up of a doctor with stethescope

What Is The Level Of Health Care In The Philippines?

The Philippines private health care sector is booming, fueling a fast-growing medical tourism industry.

There are all kinds of hospitals in the Philippines. Those that are considered “first rate” here might be considered average in the United States. Those that are charity hospitals here would be a foreigner’s nightmare.

Cebu has several good hospitals. Chong Hua Hospital is an “Accredited Institute of the Joint Commission International.” Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital is also an excellent facility. Perpetual Succour Hospital is run by an order of Sisters. These three hospitals have up-to-date modern facilities and technology and offer excellent medical care.

There are however a couple of important points a foreigner needs to know about the difference between hospitals in the Philippines and Western countries. The actual medical care provided by doctors and nurses is similar but the day-to-day care of the patient is left to family members. It is expected that patients will have family members stay with them throughout their whole hospital stay. It is the family’s responsibility to change the bed linens, get water, and even to help the patient bathe, get to the bathroom, and eat.

The second point is that a hospital can refuse you care if you do not have the cash to pay for it. There is a charge for your room, for your doctor, and you pay for all medications as you go. The hospital does not keep medications in a centralized pharmacy. Your doctor will write prescriptions for what you need, and a family member is expected to go to a local pharmacy to get these for you. This even includes IV tubes and needles.

Public facilities in this country likely would not be of a standard you’d find acceptable. Medical and dental care are good, with new hospitals under construction and international-standard health care is available in the major cities.

The Philippines shines when it comes to alternative health care. Medical doctors here are trained in “Western Medicine,” but they are also very open to using alternative healing methods, especially herbal medicines. Most of them grew up with mothers and grandmothers who knew which greens to steep to cure loose bowls, a cough, or to take down a fever. I have had one medical student lament to me that more and more Filipinos simply want their doctors to write a prescription for a pill. They think of it as more advanced; more modern.

The Philippines is now the only country outside of the United States to offer Veterans Affairs Hospitals. Both medical care and veteran benefits can be received from the overseas VA Hospitals in the Philippines. Click here for more details about Veterans Affairs in the Philippines.

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