P20 B FOR AH1N1 CONTIGENCY FUND SHOULD BE USED FOR ANTIBIOTICS AND OTHER MEDS, UPGRADE HEALTH CENTERS IN RURAL AREAS – BINAY

PRESS RELEASE
JULY 6 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO

P20 B FOR AH1N1 CONTIGENCY FUND SHOULD BE USED FOR ANTIBIOTICS AND OTHER MEDS, UPGRADE HEALTH CENTERS IN RURAL AREAS – BINAY

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said the P20 billion in contingency fund for anti-flu medicine and testing facilities can be put to better use buying paracetamol, antibiotics and other medicine which poor Filipinos can hardly afford.

The amount could also fund the upgrading of public health centers and hospitals, he said.

Binay said the Arroyo administration needs to align its priorities with the pressing health needs of the people, especially in the rural areas.

“The requested amount will just be another waste of taxpayers’ money. It also shows that the administration is detached from the real needs of the people,” he said.

“The Arroyo administration is asking for a contingency fund so it can stock up on anti-flu medicine when most Filipinos cannot even afford to buy paracetamol, antibiotics and cough medicine,” he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told congressmen Monday Mrs. Arroyo will ask for P19.839 billion as a contingency fund to address the AH1N1 virus when she delivers her State of the Nation Address (SONA).

But Binay said the national government has again misplaced its priorities.

“How can they justify these purchases when there is no vaccine against AH1N1? The money could be put to much better use by upgrading the facilities of health centers and government hospitals, particularly those in the rural areas,” he said.

He added that with P19.839 billion, the national government can stock up on paracetamol, antibiotics, cough medicine, anti-asthma medicine which are the most common ailments.

The amount can also be better utilized in promoting wellness and healthy lifestyle practices to address the rising cases of hypertension and heart ailments among many Filipinos, he added.

“It could also be used to strengthen our public health system to address rising cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 6,000 new cases of drug-resistant TB are reported yearly in the Philippines .

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