MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), through the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC), recently launched a program on herbal medicine that is set to benefit close to 20,000 households.
According to PITAHC director-general Dr. Annabelle Pabiona-de Guzman, the Herbal Medicine Access Program (HerbMAP) aims to reach at least 19,500 households from the marginalized and underserved population and reduce their out-of-pocket expenses by providing safe, effective and quality herbal medicines and products.
PITAHC is the governing body for traditional and complementary medicine in the Philippines. It is a government-owned and controlled corporation attached to the DOH.
De Guzman said the HerbMAP is developed by PITAHC and overseen by Undersecretary Charade Mercado-Grande, as a response of the institution to the unavailability of herbal medicines and products in the health sector, which was worsened by the pandemic.
“This program will be able to reach out and help more Filipino families so that somehow, they will not have to worry about the rising cost of medicines. PITAHC also assures the public that the herbal medicines and products that will be covered by Malacañang is safe and effective,” De Guzman said.
For its initial implementation, PITAHC targets the following areas as HerbMAP access sites: Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Calabarzon, parts of Metro Manila, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Davao and Northern Mindanao.
The HerbMAP package includes lagundi tablets for cough and asthma, virgin coconut oil as a food supplement, antiseptic soap such as bayabas for washing wounds and sores and akapulko for treating skin problems due to fungal infections like scabies and ringworm.