Medical service at home is one of the top needs of elderly in indigenous people communities in South Cotobato, Sarangani, and General Santos City, based on a study entitled, “Health and Lifestyle of Moro and Indigenous Aged People in SoCSarGen”.
Aside from having frail bodies, elderly often live in far-flung areas. Community clinics, however, are available in the region but far from the indigenous people’s (IP) homes.
Some elderly are also relying on herbal medicines instead of calling physicians for medical assistance due to its cost. In fact, surveys revealed that 66% of indigenous people have family income of less than P 5,000 per month, which could be the possible cause of not availing health services. Twenty percent of the respondents had not seen a medical doctor in their lifetime.
Addressing these increasing concerns on IP’s health as part of universal healthcare (UHC) strategy, the Department of Health (DOH) signed the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2013-01 or “Guidelines on the Delivery of Basic Health Services for Indigenous Peoples/Indigenous Cultural Communities (IPs/ICCs)” in June 2013 together with the National Center for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). The circular addresses concerns on access, utilization, coverage and equity on basic healthcare services of IPs.
The study was funded by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) under the Department of Science and Technology in cooperation with Mindanao State University (MSU) in General Santos City.
- Written by Hope R. Bongolan