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VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ

Fortunate that we have health care that is close to the best possible for expense as close to the minimum as possible. Our health care is not the best but close to it. For the expense, we have the best that we can get. In that we are lucky. Other countries have better health care but we are close to the best. We have natural excellence in our doctors and nurses. Our doctors and nurses and other health care practitioners are close to the best. And we thank our health care workers for the tradition of excellence that they have.

Our family doctor remarked that if they knew what they know now in medicine, my sister who died in 1980 would still be alive today. Medicine has gone great strides. I have gone to dialysis three times a week for six years now. But in the 1980’s if you went to dialysis, you would be dead in a year. The machines they had then did not clean up enough. But it was better than no dialysis. Those who did not go to dialysis died in six months. Now I have co-patients who have been on dialysis for almost 20 years and they live as ordinary lives as can be.

I have always marvelled at the cure of leprosy. Even at the time of Our Lord, it was incurable. But now it is curable and our scientists in Culion contributed considerably to its cure. Heart bypass is now almost passé. Heart doctors now put stents in the arteries that lead to the heart and are able to prevent heart attacks for the most part. We still have a problem with strokes but if the patient is able to get to the hospital within four hours of the stroke and it is not too massive, our neurologists now can prevent most of the bad effects of strokes. Accordingly we now have the grace of living to one hundred. That is now possible for most of us.

We have a large armory of weed cures and herbals that need to be examined more thoroughly and recorded together in one place. We have a cure for cancer in the leaves of guyabano and a cure for diabetes in the husks of mangosteen and a cure for Altimeters in virgin coconut oil. There is also a host of other remedies that have to be compiled and investigated further. We still have a problem with malaria and dengue. Although for dengue we have tawa-tawa whose potential has not been fully explored. I understand that we have a real problem in that our babies under the age of five. I understand that many of them are not being fed properly so that they do not develop their brains to the fullest. This is something we can do something to remedy.

We also have quite common remedies that are not fully exploited like yellow ginger or turmeric. Some also claim that we throw away some good potential boosters of health – like the skin of the mango and the seed of the avocado. The leaves of guavas and banaba have medicinal effects that we have not exploited to the full. We should not forget the fruits and bark of duhat that have many medicinal uses. There are a host of other remedies in our garden pharmacology.

Philhealth and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes have done a good job in helping our poor with their health problems. It could be improved. But congratulations to the selfless people who man these health assistance programs.

<emeterio_barcelon@Yahoo.com>

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