Let’s face it, healthcare in the Philippines can be very expensive. So whether it is a lack of income or the absence of accessible health services, many Filipinos resort to self-diagnosis and DIY healthcare rather than a visit to the doctor.
This “bahala na” mindset has grown worse in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. People have become afraid to go out—more so to go to the hospital. In fact, during the lockdown, the DOH reported an increase in deaths caused by neglect to get medical treatment and proper consultation. (source: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1345730/over-half-of-covid-19-deaths-were- dead-on-arrival-at-hospitals-duque)
For this reason, AstraZeneca—a leading global, innovation-led pharmaceutical—created the AZ Cares initiative. It aims to uplift the standard of Filipino healthcare by providing innovative and readily accessible healthcare solutions. Its goal is to help patients and their families understand their disease better through doctor-approved medical articles and other educational content.
As part of the efforts of AZ Cares’ fight against misinformation and its adverse effects on people’s health, they launched with the campaign Dapat Doctor’s Opinion—an apt response to the unchecked culture of consulting with strangers on the internet or social media.
Basta kalusugan, #DapatDoctorsOpinion
Oftentimes, the fear of healthcare costs and of this Covid-19 pandemic, most people tend to resort to googling their symptoms, crowd-sourcing diagnosis, and even self-medicating. While these fears are entirely relatable, there is a danger in relying entirely on unprofessional advice which is not backed by science. Moreover, self-medication poses various safety concerns: is it the right medicine? Is the dose accurate? Is the treatment effective?
At some point in our lives, we’ve checked our symptoms on the internet. Or have asked a friend or a “kakilala” to prescribe you what to take. We are all guilty of self-diagnosis. And AZ Cares recognizes that this behavior isn’t going away.
Researching about your health is not bad, after all. And with the proper guidance, it can help a patient live through their condition with better ease. So, with their digital campaign, AZ Cares goes straight to the source of misinformation—the internet and social media—to deliver their message: when it comes to your healthcare #DapatDoctorsOpinion.
In creating relatable, easy-to-understand, yet informative content, AZ Cares hopes to convince Filipinos that their doctors should be their go-to person should they have any medical concerns.
By doing so, existing conditions and symptoms can be detected and diagnosed early for better chances of getting the right treatment immediately and avoiding further complications. AZ Cares primary objective is to help Filipinos on how to appropriately expedite medical care by educating patients (including their guardian or caregivers), providing health information, and encouraging proper patient self-care through tele-consultation with a physician.
AZ Cares’ three key initiatives
Backing the advocacy, AZ Cares focuses on three major therapeutic areas for patients with asthma, diabetes, and oncology (specifically lung cancer and breast cancer).
“Beyond Sugar Control” promotes better understanding of Type 2 diabetes and how, when left untreated, could cause severe complications including kidney damage, loss of vision, and an increased risk for heart disease or stroke. A total 346 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, and in the Philippines, 6.3% of the total population are stricken with the disease. Acknowledging that this is a real cause for concern, AZ Cares provided a platform (facebook.com/beyondsugarph) where patients would comprehend how diabetes could severely damage their other organs. Additionally, the platform hosts FB live sessions featuring various Healthcare professionals who actively engage the viewers and provide the right information about Type 2 diabetes.
“Breathe Better” (breathebetter.ph/) is AZ Cares’ platform that provides information about how Filipinos can cope with their asthma and live normal lives. There are 339 million people with asthma worldwide and it is one of the of the top 10 causes of death in the Philippines, placing the country number two in asthma mortality in the world. Despite these disturbing numbers, some Filipinos, mostly from low- and middle-income families, remain uninformed. Through this platform, AZ Cares offers content about the symptoms and diagnosis of asthma, treatment, triggers and prevention, proper inhaler techniques, and device maintenance.
“LVNG With Lung Cancer”—an initiative supported by the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) and other local cancer support groups—is a support community of over 225,000 people across the globe who embrace life with lung cancer. With lvngphilippines.com, AZ Cares is committed to help them in all stages of their illness. It aims to bring them all together in one community support system so they can share their stories and experiences so that in turn, they may educate, inspire, and give hope to other cancer patients and their families. Through all these efforts, AZ Cares aspires to alleviate the challenges that patients and their loved ones so they can all continue LVNG with unity and LVNG with love, enough to say #LabanLung despite these difficult times.
For more information about AZ Cares, visit and like their Facebook page: facebook.com/azcaresph.
The right and better alternative
The program is a collection of trusted, doctor-approved resources, and easy-to-understand articles and contents. Through these initiatives, Consult with Care with AZ Cares wants to relieve Filipino patients of their woes especially amidst this pandemic crisis. They also enjoin everyone to be proactive when it comes to their health by taking the right route and seek medical advice only from health professionals and seek self-care that is founded on science. This way, people living with illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and breast or lung cancer, can find proper support and guidance that will educate them and their caregivers as they navigate through their illnesses towards the healing they rightfully deserve.