As the primary implementor of health in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) together with its private sector and development partners, the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Healthy Pilipinas website, the first health and wellness website designed for Filipinos.
“We launched Healthy Plipinas to help the majority of the Filipinos get access to accurate information especially in this time when misinformation and disinformation are rampant in various online sites. When users visit Healthy Pilipinas, they are assured of accurate and reliable health information,” said Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, Director of Health and Promotions Bureau, DOH.
“While the spread of factual information could save lives, the proliferation of false or inaccurate information is a serious threat to people’s lives and to public health,” remarked Mr. Teodoro Padilla, Executive Director, PHAP. “We at PHAP have joined the Department of Health in its campaign to promote the use of verified medical facts to empower the people and make health decisions based on accurate information.”
“USAID has always supported its partners from the DOH in strengthening sources of correct information in this time of rampant disinformation. It is important that the average Filipino get accurate and trusted health information especially in this time of COVID. Access to quality information is part of improving health outcomes,” noted Mr. Hoang Bui, Health Development Foreign Officer, USAID.
Salient features of Healthy Pilipinas website
The Healthy Pilipinas website is aligned with the existing and future DOH initiatives. A section of the website contains the Seven Healthy Habits campaign that engages the public to health-promoting behaviors. In addition, it provides unified messaging and information regarding the pandemic and vaccination efforts in conjunction with COVID-19 and ResBakuna campaign pages of the main DOH website.
“The website features an A-Z list of diseases, its signs, symptoms, prevention tips and treatment. There is a COVID-19 page with answers to frequently asked questions by Filipinos. COVID-19 is not our only health problem. Thus, the website gives information on various ways to stay healthy. It’s not just about illnesses but also about wellness,” described Dr. Gideon Lasco, a medical anthropologist.
PHAP Members Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and Pfizer are also supporting the DOH-led information initiative to enhance healthcare for Filipinos.
“As more and more Filipinos turn to digital platforms and social media to learn about various health issues, we believe in the positive impact that the Healthy Pilipinas website can create. This unified data platform makes essential, updated, and accurate health information accessible at a time when an epidemic of misinformation is rampant. As a research-driven company, Boehringer Ingelheim’s main focus is to address unmet health needs and tackle global health challenges with innovative solutions for humans and animals, and this is exactly what Healthy Pilipinas offers. By supporting it, we contribute towards the Department of Health’s goal of promoting health and safety for all,” said Boehringer Ingelheim General Manager Mr. Yee Kok Cheong.
“Novartis is privileged to be one of the partners of the Department of Health (DOH) in developing the Healthy Pilipinas website. In line with the Novartis Commitment to Patients and Caregivers, we continuously work to provide educational opportunities that empower patients to care for their health and seek the right care,” said Mr. Jugo Tsumura, President and Managing Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
“Health literacy is crucial to promote better healthcare outcomes. We congratulate the DOH on the innovative ‘Healthy Pilipinas’ campaign which is the right step towards providing holistic information that advocates healthy lifestyle choices for all Filipinos. The campaign is in line with Pfizer’s commitment to keep patients first and offer them medical and treatment solutions that are anchored in evidence-based scientific research and medical innovation,” said Mr. Eddie Reyes, Interim Country Manager, Pfizer Philippines.
Next steps for Healthy Pilipinas
According to Dr. Ho, the site is currently on Phase 1. Healthy Pilipinas has a feedback mechanism that allows users to leave comments and feedback to further enhance the site’s interface and content.
“In the future, we want to build more features into the website that will address concerns of our overseas Filipino workers. We also want to add a database for signs and symptoms of diseases as well as a database for medicines. Many Filipinos are searching for medicines online,” noted Dr. Lasco.
“Through the Healthy Pilipinas website, Filipinos can search about diseases prevalent in the country and how they can protect themselves and their families as well as how to improve their wellbeing. Information is currently available in English and Tagalog, and soon in Cebuano,” added Mr. Bui.
The Philippines is one of the highest internet users in the Asia Pacific, underlining the need to reach Filipinos online as our world becomes increasingly digital. DOH’s Healthy Pilipinas website embodies its unwavering commitment to promote health and safety for all Filipinos worldwide. Visit www.healthypilipinas.ph to learn more.