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Very few Filipinos have health checkups – study

A private research group expressed hope that the country's Universal Health Care (UHC) Law would encourage more Filipinos to have their annual health checks.

A study by the Capstone-Intel Corp. showed that only 40 percent of Filipinos go for annual medical checkups; 33 percent only get a checkup when they feel unwell; 15 percent rarely do so; 7 percent undergo medical checkups every two to three years; and 4 percent never get a checkup.

The study was conducted from August 1 to 10 with 1,205 respondents ranging in age from 18 to 65 years old.

The study noted that the frequency with which individuals undergo yearly medical checkups varies across age groups. It said 51 percent of those ages 45-54 receive annual checkups, followed by 50 percent in the 35-44 age range, 41 percent in the 25-34 age category, 38 percent in the 55-64 age range, 31 percent of respondents ages 65 and above, and 24 percent of those ages 18-24.

"The resolution of this health concern is contingent upon consistent and informed guidance from our government, especially since we have the Philippine Universal Health Care Act, which has benefits especially for seniors," Nic Conti, Capstone-Intel's chief of public affairs, said.

Capstone-Intel's study also revealed that income played a big part in the respondents' behavior when getting medical attention.

For respondents who earn less than P10,000 monthly, 32 percent seek medical checkups only when feeling unwell, 26 percent rarely have health checkups, and 16 percent have annual health checkups. However, more than 50 percent of those with a monthly income of at least P65,000 have an annual health checkup.

"In a move toward providing universal health care, the Universal Health Care Act was signed by the government in 2019. In 2021, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 9072, also referred to as the 'Free Annual Medical Checkup Act,' which is linked to UHC. The appropriate implementation of these initiatives is crucial in ensuring that our fellow citizens benefit from these measures," Conti noted.

The study further showed that a considerable percentage of individuals who undergo annual checkups are PhilHealth members, with a proportion of 36 percent, whereas only 3 percent of non-members reported undergoing such checkups.

Among those who receive checkups every two to three years, 5 percent are PhilHealth members, while only 2 percent are non-members. For individuals who undergo medical checkups only when they feel unwell, 25 percent are PhilHealth members, whereas 8 percent are non-PhilHealth members.

Source: Manila Times

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