Diabetes Care in the Philippines
The global burden of diabetes and its accompanying risk factors is upon us. Asia is the focus of this burden, owing to huge population numbers and increasing prevalence rates. The Philippines National Health and Nutrition Survey (NNHeS) of 2013, has provided the latest health and disease score with prevalence rates of the major risk factors among adults ≥20 years of age: diabetes (5.4%), hypertension (22.3%), dyslipidemia, low HDL (71.3%), obesity, BMI >25 kg/m2 (31.1%), and smoking (25.4%). Metabolic syndrome as of the 2008 survey reports a 27% prevalence rate (unpublished data). Efforts have to be directed to achieve improvement in prevention, survival, and quality of life for all diabetics. The health infrastructure under the leadership of the Department of Health, in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations has to provide a cohesive plan engaging all partners in various aspects of care. Strategies to enhance outcomes include: 1) a national screening program, 2) implementation of practice guidelines that will elevate the quality of care for all, 3) access to healthcare, medications, 4) development of an environment for research in institutions to allow a better understanding of these conditions among Filipino patients and 5) enhancement of training, education and service to benefit the Filipino diabetic. Indeed, the challenge is upon all of us as a nation, and we need to stand up and move forward with an organized and accessible system of care, as we aim to combat the epidemic of diabetes and its complications.
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