The Philippines is a tropical archipelago consisting of over 7000 islands located in the in south-eastern Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The country is characterised by its beautiful natural landscapes, active volcanoes, having one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia and by its increasing urbanisation.
Population estimate (2019): 107,813,453
Capital City: Manila
Currency used: Philippine peso
Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 7,820
Time zone: GMT + 8
Population growth rate (2019): 1.60%
Total fertility rate per woman: 3.02
Languages: Filipino and English are the official languages.
Key ethnic groups: Approximately 28% Tagalog, 13% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% “other”.
Religion: Approximately 81% Roman Catholic, 11% other Christian denominations, 5.6% Muslim.
Climate: The Philippines has a tropical climate with two seasons. The dry season is from late November to May, and the rainy season is from June to October. The hottest months are April and May where temperatures can rise to 38ºc, while temperatures can drop to 9ºc in the colder months from November to February (in some areas). In Manila, however, it remains hot all year round, with temperature ranges from 22 to 34ºc.
Life expectancy at birth (2016): 66/73 (male/female)
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 244/141 (per 1000 population, 2016)
Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $329
Number of doctors per 1000 population (2002): 1.16
Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2015): 0.24
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2015): 12.6 [9-17.1]
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 114 [87-175]
Births attended by skilled health personnel (2013): 72.8%
Top 10 causes of death:
Coronary heart disease: 122,950 people / 19.86% of total
Stroke: 87,402 / 14.12%
Influenza & pneumonia: 75,970 / 12.27%
Tuberculosis: 30,294 / 4.89%
Diabetes mellitus: 27,412 / 4.43%
Lung disease: 26,151 / 4.23%
Kidney disease: 22,772 / 3.68%
Hypertension: 14,751 / 2.38%
Asthma: 13,186 / 2.13%
Violence: 11,702 / 1.89%
The healthcare system in the Philippines comprises a public and a private sector. Public healthcare is administered by the government-owned corporation Philhealth. Philhealth subsidises various medical treatments such as inpatient care and (non-emergency) surgeries. It is funded by the state as well as contributions from employers and deductions of employees’ salaries. The standard of public facilities is generally good, although it can vary significantly between regions, particularly between urban and rural areas with excellent facilities in big cities and somewhat under-resourced in rural areas. Physicians and nurses are well trained and most speak English. Despite having universal healthcare through the Philhealth plan, unequal access to medical services is still problem in the country, and the system is strained by high patient numbers as well as understaffing, as many doctors chose to work abroad.
Private healthcare is a growing sector and already widely available in the Philippines. Private facilities are better equipped and treatment accessed faster than at public facilities. Although private treatment is fairly cheap for European standards, it is considered expensive by many locals who predominantly rely on public services.