Over the past decade, there have been drastic innovations in the Philippines. The country has experienced dramatic economic growth and development. In 2019, the Global Innovation Index (GII) found that the country improved on all metrics used to calculate advancement. In specific, several health innovations in the Philippines help the nation achieve better health for its citizens.
In 2019, the Philippines appeared for the first time in the “innovation achievers group.” The country outperformed many other countries in the area. Some of the metrics used to calculate these scores include increased levels of creative exports, trademarks, high-tech imports and employed, highly educated women.
As a country, the Philippines has risen 19 spots in the ranking since 2018, to 54th out of 129 participating countries. This indicates a significant increase in the standard of living for many Filipinos. This is apparent in the significant decrease in the nation’s poverty rate over the past few years. From 2015 to 2018, the national poverty rate dropped a total of 6.7%, or by 5.9 million people.
Prosperity is largely due to the success of local business owners and entrepreneurs who have used their influence and prosperity to help those in need in their communities and countries, especially in the health sector. Coincidingly, the world noted a significant increase in global trade. Both factors have propelled the Philippines into the global economy as an important emerging market to keep an eye on.
In 2018, the Philippines and the United States’ trade relationship developed significantly. The total goods trade was $21.4 billion collectively, in the petroleum and coal, aerospace and computer software, motor vehicles and travel/hospitality sectors. This is beneficial to the U.S. because the international trade sector employs more than 39.8 million U.S. citizens. As the Philippines becomes more prosperous, more Filipinos are able to pour money and resources into helping marginalized communities across the country. As such, there has been an increase in innovations in the Philippines, notably in the health and medical sectors.
Health Innovations in the Philippines
- RxBox. A distinct industry on the frontlines of innovations in the Philippines is the health sector. Increased health for a population directly relates to better access to opportunity and a higher standard of living overall. One company doing this important work in the Philippines is RxBox. RxBox was developed by the country’s Department of Science and Technology. It is a biomedical telehealth system that provides health care and diagnoses to people in communities that are remote and difficult to access. The service is additionally available to people who do not have access to or the ability to travel to health care centers. RxBox is a game-changer for disadvantaged people who would otherwise not be able to obtain fast, effective medical care. RxBox reduces costly hospital and medical visits, which facilitates better health for people. Communities are then better able to care for themselves and for their families, providing greater opportunities for everybody.
- Biotek M. There is another player in health innovations in the Philippines: Biotek M, a revolutionary diagnostic kit for dengue. A local team at the University of the Philippines Diliman stands as the mastermind behind this new technology. Traditionally, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is used to confirm the disease but can cost up to $8,000 and takes 24 hours to get results. This is inaccessible to lower-income people who are oftentimes the demographic most commonly afflicted by the dengue infection. The kit helps reduce resource usage for both medical centers and patients by significantly streamlining the diagnosis process. In 2017, the Philippines recorded 131,827 cases of dengue with 732 deaths, mostly impacting young children aged 5 to 9. Being able to quickly diagnose and treat people who contract this illness is beneficial for people living in poverty.
When people can spend less time, energy and money on their health upkeep, they are able to use their resources more efficiently and prioritize other investments, such as education. In this way, health innovations in the Philippines and a growing economy directly increase the standard of living for impoverished Filipinos.
– Noelle Nelson