The Alarming Cost Of Dengue Treatment In The Philippines

Dengue, the most common mosquito-borne viral infection in both subtropical and tropical regions worldwide, impacts more than just health. Aside from the severe flu-like illness inflicted on its victims, patients and affected families bear the financial burden of hospital stays and medication.

Severe dengue affects most Asian and Latin American countries and has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children and adults alike.

Preventive breakthrough, with a price

Dr. Cecilia Montalban, President of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination,  said that a Dengue vaccine can “guarantee that eight out of 10 cases will be prevented (from being hospitalized). And nine out of 10 will be prevented from having severe haemorrhagic fever with the vaccine.”

The dengue vaccination, which can be administered to anyone aged nine to 45 years old, can provide protection from strains of the dengue virus. This should be taken in three zero-six-12-month intervals. People who already have history of dengue are also recommended to get shots, as there are some types of dengue that the body is not immune to, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante of the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Sanofi’s Dengvaxia costs P4,000 per dose, or P12,000 for all three doses. While the price may seem reasonable compared to the hefty cost of dengue treatment, it still is unattainable to many cash-strapped Filipinos.

Also, it hasn’t been proven if the vaccine can provide lifetime protection since the body’s immune system responds to antibodies for a certain time only.

Dengue hospitalization costs

Ramil Echague*, a recent dengue patient, shares that his hospital bill amounted to around P38,000 for six days. The price included fees for P5,000 private room and board and around P2,000 miscellaneous fees, exclusive of oral medications. Depending on your case, your hospital can bill you more than P170,000.

Here are the standard charges to expect on your hospitalization bill breakdown:

  • Hospital accommodation (Ward, semi-private, private, suite)
  • Admittance Fee
  • Laboratory tests fees
  • Medicines
  • Doctor’s Professional fees

Though some of the medication will be given during the duration of confinement and will be charged to the hospital bill, patients must also be ready to shell out more money for prescriptions to be purchased at outside pharmacies.

The physicians and specialists’ fees, as well as medications, should be the largest chunk of your bill. To offset costs, do not be lured by admitting personnel offering more expensive boarding as deluxe upgraded room prices can rack up around P4,500 per day, on average.

In times like this, you can rely on maximizing your PhilHealth benefits, HMO privileges (for employees), as well as health insurance. PhilHealth can cover your hospital bill for up to P8,000 for Dengue I and P16,000 for Dengue II of all Sponsored Program members admitted at accredited government hospitals. This includes indigent families enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).