Politics and healthcare

With much gratitude, I accepted the invitation to host this Saturday’s #HealthXPh tweetchat. Our tweetchat this Saturday will be about politics and healthcare.

In the aftermath of recent events here and abroad, politics has become part of everyday conversation, especially in social media. Nonetheless, even if one doesn’t intend to, one will always be exposed to politics. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines politics as “affairs or business, especially competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership”

Often, this struggle for power comes from a desire to prove that one knows better than the others. The 18th century French political philosopher Voltaire once wrote that all people are “born with a rather violent penchant for domination.” Don’t we see this tendency often in our respective workplaces, or even in our families?

This tendency for competition manifests itself in virtually all matters of everyday life, and health care is no exception. At all levels, we see politics at play in matters like choosing a remedy to prescribe, in hospital affairs such as the acceptance of residents into a highly competitive training program, or in country-level issues like the procurement of a specific brand of medicines for a national program.

Notwithstanding, health has always been political. Ever since health was defined in 1948 by the World Health Organization as “physical, mental and social well-being” and as a “basic human right,” politics has always been part in discussing about the optimal provision of health care services.

As health care providers, it is therefore important that we know how politics can affect our respective roles, and how politics can either help us or impede us in providing the best possible care for our patients.

In this Saturday’s tweetchat we will discuss these important topics:

T1: How has politics affected your role as a health care provider?

T2: How do you minimize the negative effect of politics in your HCP role?

T3: What are opportunities offered by politics in your HCP role?

Join us this Saturday, November 19, 9:00 P.M. Manila Time/8:00 A.M. US Eastern Standard Time at #HealthXPh!

(picture: This is me during my rural physician days, orienting our health staff about the PhilPEN (Package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease interventions) protocol being rolled out in our municipality. Getting this intervention approved was a political maneuver in itself! January 2013, Sablan, Benguet.)