Diabetes, hypertension patients get free medicines in ARMM

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (Bureau of Public Information)

COTABATO CITY - Residents in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) suffering from diabetes and hypertension are thankful after receiving free maintenance medicines from the region’s Department of Health (DOH-ARMM). The distribution of free medicines in the region started this month.

Joery Amad, regional diabetes educator, said the medicines will help combat diabetes and hypertension – two interrelated conditions – and the complications brought about by these two illnesses.

“Mape-prevent ng mga gamot na maipapamahagi natin ang mga komplikasyong dala ng diabetes at hypertension (The free medicines will help prevent the complications these two conditions bring),” Amad said.

The patients, however, should become members of DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Club to avail themselves of the free medicines. Patients must go to the nearest health center and undergo assessment, screening, and management through the Philippine Package of Essential NCD (non-communicable disease) Intervention protocol.

When diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes, or both, the patient will be enrolled in the club. Amad added the patients can access metformin, a maintenance medicine for diabetes, and losartan, amlodipine, and metoprolol, which are for hypertension cases, at the regional office here and in rural health units on a monthly basis.

Diabetes, a non-communicable disease, is among the top causes of deaths in the Philippines according to the World Health Organization. Of the total health-related deaths monitored in 2008, 57% are due to the “fatal four” NCDs, namely cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.

While diabetes posts a risk to most Filipinos, its rate of prevalence in the ARMM is among the lowest in the country with 3.8% alongside with Northern Mindanao (Region X) and Ilocos (Region I) with 3.3% and 4.0%, respectively. The numbers are based on the 8th National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The survey also showed that ARMM is among the regions with the lowest hypertension prevalence at 17.3% with the neighboring Zamboanga (Region IX) at a lower rate 17.2%.

The DOST survey was conducted from June 2013 to April 2014, covering all 17 regions of the country, 79 provinces, 45,047 households and 172,323 individuals.

It also showed that the prevalence of hypertension slightly decreased while that of diabetes increased from 2008 to 2013 nationwide.

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