The Department of Health in Calabarzon, together with the Philippine Society of Hypertension and local health executives in the region, has agreed to implement a Package of Essential Non-communicable Disease Interventions, also known as PhilPEN.
This would reduce the rates of lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the province, DOH Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said.
This would be done through early screening and consultations, including timely treatment at the local level, he said.
“We need to start implementing interventions in order for the people to be protected from these cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) like hypertension and stroke,” said Janairo during the PhilPEN Summit held in Tagaytay City.
He said this should begin with parents to the newborn until the patient grows old.
“Even though CVDs are hereditary, it can be prevented but due to factors that aggravate these diseases such as unhealthy lifestyle such as excessive salty food intake, lack of exercise and even stressful environment, these come out,” Janairo emphasized.
DOH has listed CVDs, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes among the leading causes of mortality in the country.
These are known as lifestyle related NCDs because they have common risk factors, which are to a large extent related to unhealthy lifestyles.
According to World Health Organization National Communicable Disease Progress Monitor of 2017, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the Philippines, as it claimed 74,134 lives in 2016.
The DOH Field Health Service Information System recorded a total of 601,173 NCD cases in 2015. The Philippines also has the highest probability of dying from NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70 years old.
Janairo also disclosed that a recent study on hypertension showed that Filipinos have CVDs as early as 15 years old.
One of the measures to address the growing concern of NCDs in the region is to implement an ordinance with the support of the local government units in the region to encourage food establishments to disclose the caloric contents of every meal in their menu, in order for consumers to make a healthier choice on what to eat.
“This will also promote health awareness and will provide great help for those who are monitoring their diet or those who have CVDs and even diabetes. We will pilot this program in Cavite because this is the province with the highest prevalence of NCDs in the region pending the approval of proposed Nutritional Information Disclosure Bill,” Janairo said.
The PhilPEN was adopted and implemented in 2012 in a low-resource setting from the WHO and was included in Philhealth’s Primary Care Benefit Package in 2013.