According to the 2008 government statistics, the population of Infanta was 62,000. The main income was come from agriculture, average 100 peso a day per person (equal to HK$500 monthly income per person), which basic living could be maintained. In case of high blood pressure patients, they have to use 900 peso for the medicine a month, i.e. 30% of monthly income.
As a result of the low Government investment for medical service in Infanta, the facilities and services provided are relatively obsolete. When feeling sick, people would buy patent medicine or find herbal medicine by themselves rather than consult the doctors in the local hospital. For serious cases, they would go to the hospital in Manila directly, where is 5 hours far by car from the town, if the patient can afford the costs. For the poor, they can only pray and wait for the miracle at home.
Government District Hospital in Infanta, staffed with 4 doctors and 10 nurses, is responsible for providing both in-patient and out-patient services for the six towns around. There are 15 wards with 25 beds. Only 1 doctor can be put on duty every day, but at the same time, the number of patient visits is around 100 a day. Because of lack of sufficient funds, the supply of medicines is inadequate in the hospital pharmacy. Even simple surgeries cannot be operated as the blood bank is not developed.
There is another Government Health Centre, near the District Hospital, staffed with 1 doctor for basic check-ups, such as measuring height, weight and blood pressure. However, the doctor can only stay in the Centre for half day, he has to visit 36 villages in turn at the other half day. About 6 – 8 private clinics can be found in the town, but the doctors are not available every day as they may stay in Manila sometimes. The consultation fee is average at 150 – 200 peso.
Due to the lack of basic health and hygiene knowledge, the respiratory diseases, infectious diseases and parasitic infection are common in this area.
After taking the following reasons into consideration, geographic location, population, culture, transportation, climate and, the most importantly, the medical need, CMA decides to provide long-term free consultations and treatments in Infanta. CMA would cooperate with ICDAI closely regarding Infanta as the first service base and aiming at develop permanent Chinese Medicine clinic and school locally. When the development is almost completed in Infanta, CMA will expand the service to other locations in the Philippines or South-East Asia soon.