With the widespread uncertainty caused by the health crisis, it is understandable that many Filipinos are hesitant to go to hospitals right now to get checked when they start feeling ill or even for routine check-ups. The fact that many are not familiar with remote consultation is also not helping.
This is very alarming not only because it puts patients with other diseases or comorbidities at potentially high risk, but it also threatens the already embattled healthcare system, according to the Country Medical Director of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Philippines.
"It is a health crisis within a health crisis," said GSK Philippines Country Medical Director Dr. Gyneth Bibera. "Since the start of the situation, more people have been putting off consultations and delaying getting treatment. Anxiety is one reason, but it can also be because of the limited access to healthcare facilities right now."
"What is more concerning is that many patients decide to seek medical attention only when their health has severely worsened, requiring more demanding medical procedures or even getting hospitalized, which can be avoided with early diagnosis and treatment," Dr. Bibera added.
To address this, patients need to learn to let go of their fears related to seeking medical advice and take other diseases seriously, all while protecting themselves from the infection. Healthcare professionals, patient organizations, and the public sector must also continue working together in encouraging patients to visit their preferred healthcare facilities and become more aware of available alternatives to face-to-face consultations.
"People need to be educated more about the consultation options that they can avail right now. For healthcare institutions, they must continuously communicate the ways they are ensuring the health and safety of other patients in their facilities," Dr. Bibera says.
These can include strict measures to uphold the complete separation of facilities and technology-driven solutions such as databases for personal medical records, which will make it easy to remind patients of their next consultation or prescription medicine refill.
Even pharmacies can help contribute by providing accessible medicines and round-the-clock delivery, as well as reliable e-prescription validation systems so that patients can purchase medicines from the comfort of their homes.
"Most of all, we need to continuously promote the mindset that seeking medical advice is always the best course of action when one is experiencing any symptom—that they do not drop the ball when it comes to their health, health crisis or no health crisis," Dr. Bibera said.
"By seeking timely medical advice for any symptom they are experiencing, patients will be able to address an underlying condition as early as possible and potentially avoid more resource-intensive treatments, in turn helping ease the burden on the country's healthcare system which is already under immense pressure due to the crisis," Dr. Bibera concluded.
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information, visit www.gsk.com/about-us.
Philippines Contact: Cathy S. Ileto
Country Communications and Government Affairs Head, GSK Philippines email@example.com; +639178887513
This is material is intended for Philippine Audience
This article is developed by GSK Philippines
NP-PH-NA-BRF-210002 | October 2021
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