WHO calls for health insurance for all in the Philippines

News release

MANILA, 5 May 2001—The head of the World Health Organization's Western Pacific Region has urged the Philippine Government to make a concerted effort to ensure that everyone in the country is covered by health insurance.

Speaking at a policy seminar in Manila on health financing, Dr Shin Young-soo said the aim must be to ensure that everyone in society is free from the fear of financial ruin if they or a family member falls ill. "This is fundamental to a country's economic development and to building a secure society," he said.

Dr Shin said the Philippines already had the basic structure in place to extend health coverage to everyone. The health system can deliver a reasonable level of care in most parts of the country, he said, and half the population was already covered. "But the other half, including some of the most vulnerable in this society, are not," he said.

Full text of Dr Shin's address