In the Philippines, there is widespread inequity in the quality and accessibility of healthcare services. Quality healthcare services are usually available only in select private institutions. Many Filipinos also have limited access to quality healthcare services primarily due to their exorbitant costs, and this is made worse by the fact that many health facilities are located only in Metro Manila and a few select cities.
Ritche Evidente, president and CEO of Singapore Diagnostics (SGD), believes that with this scenario, only around 10% of Filipinos have access to quality healthcare services, with many having to settle for substandard treatment and more not receiving any treatment at all. The pandemic further exacerbated the dire health scenario that Filipinos across the country are facing. The irony, he adds, is that Filipino healthcare professionals are most sought-after across the globe for their world-class talent and excellent skills.
“We really cannot blame our healthcare workers for wanting to seek greener pastures abroad,” he says. “Instead, we need to continue providing them excellent training so that we have a steady stream of professionals who can serve both local and international demands.” This, he adds, is exactly what they are doing at SGD which employs over 200 medical technologists across its various laboratories. “We need to help them in their professional training so that when they leave, they can make our country proud with their skills.”
A subsidiary of Pathology Asia, which is among Southeast Asia’s large medical diagnostic groups with laboratory, genomic, and digital health operations in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, SGD provides Filipino medtechs with world-class training conducted by experts from all over the world. The company also aims to help Filipino medical technologists before they work overseas, should they choose to. In this way, SGD also provides Filipino patients with well-trained professionals, while helping retain and boost the Pinoys’ fine reputation in the global healthcare industry.
Their highly skilled roster of Filipino medtechs is, in fact, a key factor that helped the company retain the prestigious reaccreditation from the prestigious College of American Pathologists (CAP) for the high quality of its diagnostic services.
“At Singapore Diagnostics, we have stringent and rigorous procedures in place to ensure that we deliver the most accurate laboratory results possible. Our well-trained professionals were trained experts with experience and credentials from all over the world. Nonetheless, even at that high level of quality, we also strongly believe in continuous training and monitoring to make improvements and elevate the healthcare industry for Filipinos so they can get the help they need,”
By continuing this work, Singapore Diagnostics envisions becoming the foundation for medical technologists in the Philippines – to not only be a center of excellence for technical skills but to also provide a healthy work culture for their 400+ employees nationwide.
Apart from excellent training for their medical personnel, Evidente cites two ways to raise the level of healthcare in the country – to establish more facilities and partnerships with other institutions nationwide; and to make quality of healthcare services accessible to more Filipinos through affordable pricing.
High-quality diagnostic services
This is critical, he says, because laboratory results are the basis for many medical decisions. “Quality and affordable laboratory tests are very important because they help monitor changes in a patient’s health, and their doctors can work with them on any prevention, diagnosis, and treatment needed. Lab tests can help Filipinos be in the best of health.” Singapore Diagnostics also offer various lab tests at affordable rates for Filipinos.
Since its establishment in late 2013 in the Philippines, SGD has been processing laboratory requirements for over 500 hospitals, clinics, labs and healthcare institutions in the country, serving up to 50,000 patients every month and running up to 2.5 million laboratory examinations a year.
More world-class patient centers and partnerships
Collaboration between healthcare institutions is also vital in terms of improving access to quality healthcare services for Filipino patients. SGD collaborates with partner hospitals and laboratories for both lab work and training of lab personnel. SGD’s partnerships help provide Filipinos in the provinces with easier access to special tests or genetic tests to detect diseases.
“Singapore Diagnostics is here to help other local laboratories, not to compete with them. We want to support the Filipino community and work together to elevate the country’s healthcare industry locally and internationally,” said Evidente.
Currently, there are 6 laboratory hubs nationwide, namely in Makati, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Dagupan, and Angeles City. SGD also offers home service and is looking forward to building more facilities, up to 40 in the coming months.
By 2023, SGD is expected to build a new world class facility in the Metro, a state of the art laboratory that will employ more Filipino medical technologists and serve more patients.
In addition to the Metro Manila core facility, SGD is eyeing to build more laboratories in every major city in the Philippines. This will provide access to affordable yet world class healthcare services for Filipinos, with each lab outfitted with multi-stage screening systems to help keep patients and employees safe.
Bringing world-class medical services to Filipinos across the country may not happen soon, but the relentless commitment of SGD to adhere to global standards, train its employees and collaborate with other healthcare institutions may just take us there sooner than we think.
For more information and updates, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @singaporediagnostics. For inquiries, call 8-SGDLABS (632 87435227) or (+63917) 566 4137.