FORMER president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s demand to travel abroad and seek medical treatment is an insult to physicians.

Despite the abundance of physicians, specializing in Orthopaedics here in our country, Arroyo has been seeking the approval of the Department of Justice to travel for her treatment. Her camp is claiming that there’s an absence of an expert in our country and medical facility to treat her condition called hypoparathyroidism and cervical spondylosis.

Hypoparathyroidism is a disorder caused by the failure of the parathyroid gland to produce sufficient parathyroid hormone, which helps regulate the blood of level of calcium, a mineral that builds and strengthens bones. The treatment of this disease involves calcium and vitamin D supplementation which may be lifelong.

Cervical Spondylosis, meanwhile, is a disorder wherein abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones on the cervical vertebrae, or the neck, is present.

The “experts” that Arroyo needs are specialists on metabolic bone diseases.

These experts are present in the country. In fact, Philippine Medical Association governor Dr. Leo Olarte said in the news that there are about 600 orthopaedic surgeons and more than 100 endocrinologists and metabolic bone experts in the Philippines.

As for the medical facility, we even have the Philippine Orthopaedic Center, a specialized hospital built to address bone disorders.

Moreover, there are alternative treatments that she could avail herself of such as the radioisotope scan. It is non-invasive compared to a bone biopsy that requires a surgery. This alternative is safer and less expensive.

The claims of Arroyo’s camp are indeed an insult for it shows her mistrust of Filipino physicians and of our whole healthcare system.

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For those claims to come from our former President is like salt added to a wound. She’s like a mother disowning her children.

Although it is no longer her term, she should still express confidence in her people and her country’s competent medical services.

Although the claims of Arroyo’s camp regarding the presence of medical experts and facilities are faulty and poorly researched, this is a good eye-opener for all of us.

For the national officials, don’t waste or pocket the funds allotted for health care because it is vital for all of us.

For the health care system, patient awareness is absolutely important. Your clients should know the available services in our country and the alternatives for unavailable treatments. If Arroyo were an average citizen, her illness might have serious complications right now just because of her knowledge deficit regarding the available medical services.

Leaders should never forget boosting the country’s health care system and facilities and always make them available, affordable, and accessible. A healthy nation produces healthy economy, and all of us, including our leaders, benefit from a good health care delivery.

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