Many of our countrymen fly to different countries all over the world to receive and get good-quality treatment and organ transplants. They do so because whenever they try to find the service here, it’s a multiple times more expensive than what they’ll be paying for when they do it abroad.
This led to to the planning of both Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and our dearest President Rodrigo Duterte to improve our country’s capabilities to perform and to provide liver and kidney transplants in the Philippines.
Following their meeting with Kendy Aguilo and Ronald Naval back on January 15th, they found out they are flying to India to treat their daughter who has a biliary atresia. With this, President Duterte immediately said and encouraged them to stay here and have Sophie, their daughter to have the treatment here in the country instead of flying to India.
Let’s try it here. I believe (the operation can be done here). I’m not for scrimping – I have money and I will help.”
What is Biliary Atresia?
Biliary Atresia is a condition that is gotten by infants where the bile ducts both on the interior and the exterior of the liver are scarred and wounded. With this, it’s blocked, causing bile to not flow properly to the intestine.
Over time, the bile builds up in the liver which damages it more; making the condition worse and more severe.
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute
The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NTKI) was tapped by the two government members so that Filipinos who are in dire need of an organ transplant will not be enticed to fly to different destinations just to get one.
The Department of Organ Transplantation of the NKTI was first founded back in the year 1983 and it has since pioneered liver, kidney, and kidney-pancreas transplantations in the Philippines.
What they wanted, according to them, is for our country to have better and affordable organ transplants in the Philippines. This is for us to be able to help our fellow countrymen in solving health problems related to that.
A previous case of Biliary Atresia
Senator Go even made a mention of the case of the daughter of the Philippine Army soldier from Butuan City, Eren Arabella Crisologo. They met the 11-month-old baby for the first time when they paid a visit to the Cagayan de Oro City hospital back in March 2019 for the wounded-in-action soldiers.
As per Senator Go, they helped the parents of the baby for them to fly to India back in June of 2019. Unfortunately, the operation was not successful; baby Eren had complications and she wasn’t able to survive the operation.
Unfortunately, baby Eren developed complications so she did not survive the operation.”
How much does a liver transplant in the Philippines cost?
We are blessed because we’re not the ones who need it; but for the sake of answering the question, the price of having a kidney transplant in the Philippines is about three (3) to five (5) times more expensive compared to it being done in other countries like India – where it just costs about P1.2 million.
Because of the few limited number of people and specialists we have in that field, the costs for this kind of service and transplant is lucrative.
To be able to properly address the issue, Senator Bong Go, President Duterte, along with other members of the Cabinet met and discussed their goal of providing better and affordable organ transplants in the country.
The goal of the meeting was to properly address the increasing severe cases of the condition, as well as controlling the cost of performing liver transplants. With the consultations that transpired, health practitioners as well as Department of Health (DOH) officials let Senator Go concoct and draft solutions (both short-term and long-term) to the problems that were let out.
The Department of Health (DOH), the Office of the President (OP), The Medical City Hospital (TMC), and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCM) are among the parts of the consortium that they’re planning to cook up to suffice the “short-term solution” to the problem.
On the other hand, the long-term solution Senator Go was able to devise would involve developing and acquiring equipment for the much-needed development of NKTI facilities as well as sending specialists to Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital for training in the field.
Under the planned consortium, it was said that the Philippine government will be willing to spend more than P58.1 million for the equipment; P1.3 million for a batch of 12 of specialists who would be trained for about one (1) to two (2) months in Taiwan.
Specialists who will be chosen will have a bond to serve at the NKTI for at least two (2) years.
What the long-term solution suggests is to increase and heighten the standards of the healthcare of the country. Moreover, to elevate and boost the morale of Filipino medical practitioners.
The funding, based on Senator Go’s plans, could come from the Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) Program. In addition to that, Go also tapped the PMS or the Presidential Management Staff to accordingly plan out other sources of assistance for solutions they’ve drafted.
What they’re looking for is assistance from both major and minor government agencies. The PMS were also directed to have meetings with:
- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)
- Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PagCor)
- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and
- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)
To conclude, Go iterated that patients who are in need of medical assistance can take advantage of the newly-built Malasakit Centers, the full and complete service assistance centers that are from the combined efforts of the DSWD, the PCSO, PhilHealth, and the DOH.
No further announcement was made in accordance to this. All we can hope for now is for our country to truly have access to better and affordable organ transplants to help people who are in need.
The goal and target isn’t just to help the indigenous and the poor; organ transplant is not a joke. It is an expensive procedure that requires excellent quality medical attention.
What do you think about the government’s vision of mapping out plans to provide better and affordable organ transplants here in the country? Do you think that this act is enough to ensure that all Filipinos are given the chance to be treated in their country? Or would this still require patients who need treatment to fly out to foreign countries to avail inexpensive and affordable prices?
Let’s wait for the official announcement in the next coming months to see whether or not we’re able to execute better and affordable organ transplants in the country.
Source: The Philippine Star