Addressing the rural community health needs

The health dynamics in the rural communities in the countryside is far different when we compare it to that of highly urbanized area not only in terms of health needs and disease profiles but more importantly are the unique and peculiar health seeking behaviors and practices of the people.

The health dynamics in the rural communities in the countryside are far different when we compare them to that of the highly urbanized area not only in terms of health needs and disease profiles but more importantly, are the unique and peculiar health-seeking behaviors and practices of the people. The Philippines as an archipelago means that there are hundreds of different traditional approaches to one disease entity alone.

Even in this modern time where the practice of medicine is far more advanced, a handful of families still entrust their health to “albularyo”- local shamans that use incantations, concoctions of herbs, and “potions” with ceremonial spiritual magical motioning to treat diseases. This is not to discriminate or demean “traditional” practices, especially that of the indigenous Filipinos. In fact, some practices were proven to offer marginal benefits to simple cases of colds. However modern times have science in their arsenal and so in the light of these advancements, it will be a waste if we do not utilize modern approaches to our present-day problems.

The public and private health sectors are already moving and upcycling their information, education campaigns, or IEC activities to promote health by transforming unhealthy/unacceptable health-seeking behaviors into more acceptable, safe, and efficacious ones. In fact, it has been noted all throughout these years that there is an increasing trend in the census of Outpatient clinics mainly attributed not because people are becoming sicker, but rather people are becoming more conscious and self-determined when it comes to their health and the health of their family members.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), Statistically the top 1 among the top 10 morbidities in the Philippines year in and year out since 2014 is the Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). URTIs if left untreated or mistreated, will easily progress to become Pneumonia which is an infection of the lungs. One of the barriers to the successful treatment of URTIs is the misuse of medicines and the unavailability of effective medicines for their treatment. We can’t just rely everything on traditional ways. Furthermore, there are far-flung areas that are still doctorless leaving people more vulnerable to less-safe health choices for the lack of better options.

For the most seen illnesses in my clinic here in the rural area where I practice, there are available over-the-counter generic medications that my patients especially for the pediatric population can purchase. In their follow-ups, however, their guardians attest that the medications they initially bought were unsatisfactory in giving relief to their children’s cold symptoms. Mothers are left with no choice but to sacrifice quality and efficacy by just buying anything that is available within their reach, without a need for a prescription, and most importantly with a price that is within their budget.

Thankfully, Nurturemed is here! A pharmaceutical company whose aim is cemented towards the health and wellness of every Filipino family. As a rural physician, I am delighted to see options that are not only inexpensive and effective but more importantly available even in the farthest of areas. Some of their over-the-counter medicines like Phenylpropanolamine HCI + Brompheniramine maleate drops and syrup are not just effective and of high quality but are affordable and within the budget of every Filipino family. With this, the perennial problem of upper respiratory tract infections being always on top of the list of morbidity in the Philippines will no longer cause anxiety to a caring and loving mother. Moreover, URTIs can also progress to be more serious lung infections. In the rural health setting where I practice, most cases of pneumonia are already intractable to the commonly prescribed medicines. Modern-day “bugs” develop tolerance and a wise decision to follow in choosing an antibiotic of choice will be a step-up approach. Not all antibiotics are created equal though. Ask your doctors about Cefuroxime and Azithromycin. These are antibiotics of higher generation and broader class that might be of great help to treat cough as a result of a bacterial lung infection. At the end of the day, public health requires a multi-sectoral approach addressing multi-factorial issues that tackles all health needs from “womb to tomb”. Filipinos will no longer struggle to look for effective, safe, and affordable medicines. Diseases such as URTIs can now be safely addressed without families having to undergo unsafe and questionable shamanic practices. Filipinos deserve better and now Filipinos surely have a better option with Nurturemed.