Country Focus: Philippines

Anti-mercury awareness has taken root in the Philippines. It wasn’t always like that, though. Before our anti-mercury campaign started in 2005, the dangers of mercury in health care wasn’t that well-known. 

All that changed after the first Southeast Asia Conference on Mercury was held in Manila in 2006. The conference brought the issue to light. The gathering was the tipping-point HCWH-Asia needed. Due to the convincing facts discussed, 

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III pledged to author policies that mandate the phasing-out of mercury.

The next year, Philippine Heart Center, together with St. Paul Hospital in Tuguegarao, the Manila Adventist Hospital, and San Juan De Dios Hospital started their own mercury phase-out programs. 

In August 11, 2008, Administrative Order 21 of the Department of Health was signed. It ordered the gradual phase-out of all mercury-containing devices in all Philippine hospitals by 2010.

By 2009, more than 50 hospitals had phased-out, or were phasing out, mercury-containing devices in their facilities.

To complement the mercury phase-out, alternatives should be presented. In 2009, the General Appropriations Act allocated Php 13.2 million for the purchase of non-mercury thermometers in government-controlled hospitals. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is also doing its part.  It signed a revised accreditation policy that denied accreditation to hospitals that still use mercury.