By Azer Parrocha
MANILA, (PNA) — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) just made prostheses (artificial body part/s) available for those who have lost a limb.
This began as a concept in 2012, when the Philhealth board was presented national data which showed that an estimated 30 percent of people with disabilities in the Philippines could return to work if provided with an assistive device like a prosthesis for a missing limb.
Prosthesis provision was selected as the first rehabilitation service to be covered by Philhealth, and is called the “Z package” and among the first people to benefit was Alan Santos.
In April 2013, Santos, a 25-year-old construction worker hit a live electrical wire while working on a building site and sustained injuries that required amputation of his leg below the knee.
His contract did not provide health insurance or hospital benefits but with support from the local government, he was able to subscribe to Philhealth and become the first recipient of a “Z package” prosthesis this September.
He was admitted to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila to be measured for a prosthesis and receive training on how to walk on his new leg. His employer has offered to re-hire him after his discharge.
For Santos, the “Z package” has offered a new “lease on life”, and not only because it means he can return to work and support his family.
“I don’t want my child to grow up seeing me without a leg, not being able to run and play with her, and eventually becoming dependent on her when I should be the one taking care of her,” he said, in a statement.