Certain living and lifestyle conditions such as residing in crowded environments and cigarette smoking have been identified as risk factors for contracting pneumonia and complications that arise from it. But advanced age, by itself, is a known predictor of pneumococcal illness, the elderly being among the primary and vulnerable targets of the disease. The elderly years, when complicated by underlying medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, alcoholism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney failure and diabetes, make patients even more susceptible to serious infections.
Pneumonia is one of the top five leading causes of mortality in the Philippines. It is one of the diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumonia or pneumococcus, a type of bacteria that is also responsible for meningitis, sinusitis, and bronchitis.
PhilHealth’s Senior Manager Dr. Robert Louie So confirms that, "In the past 15-16 years, pneumonia is among the top causes of death for the elderly." According to PhilHealth statistics, "In 2010, there were 330,000 Philhealth claims equivalent to about P2.2 billion cost of hospitalization; 117,000 were for Filipinos 18 or older and 70,000 of these were for senior citizens." Dr. So added.*
Acutely aware of the need to enhance healthcare service for the older population, global healthcare company MSD and PhilHealth have launched "60+ na ako at OKs ang bakuna ko laban sa pulmonya." MSD, through this public-private partnership with PhilHealth, is offering approximately 60% discount on the pneumococcal vaccine to all PhilHealth member and dependents who are 60 years old and above beginning June 1, 2012 in PhilHealth-accredited hospitals designated as Vaccine Access Points (VAP).
The pneumonia vaccination program is aligned with PhilHealth’s mandate to give Filipinos financial access to quality health services. Through the years, PhilHealth has been a driver of reforms in the country’s health care system by ensuring financial protection to its members in times of ill-health.
The best way our elderly family members can enjoy their golden years is when they are not threatened by invasive diseases like pneumonia. Have them vaccinated now. For more information, please call our PhilHealth Call Center at 441-7442.
* www.philstar.com/health&family/ written by Angelica Subido, June 19, 2012
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