Tuesday 9 April 2013

A to Z 2013: Health

For the month of April I will be blogging alphabetically with the theme of Winnipeg versus Davao City. Not to prove a winner but simply to explore the differences and similarities between my home town and my current location.

H is for Health!

Getting shots before we left from our nurse friend.
I'll warn you right now that the photos on this post are stretching it. I thought the topic of health would be somewhat interesting but I don't have a lot of appropriate pictures for this. Bennywho...

Winnipeg and Davao both have good doctors, lots of great Filipino nurses (Canada has been importing them for years) and pretty decent medical tech. If you have some rare disease, you may well have to travel from either place. The biggest difference is that Canadians are blessed with Universal Health Care whereas the Filipinos are not. (Unless of course they move to Canada. We play pretty loose with our life saving system.)

In Winnipeg, if I don't feel well, I can go sit in the waiting room of my doctor's clinic for a few hours, get checked out, get an Rx and be on my way. In Davao, I can probably see someone almost immediately but I'll have to pay for it. Not too much, but it will require some cash. In our case, because we remain residents of Manitoba, our health care will cover us for up to two years outside of the country.

That yellowish building on the far right is a hospital. (See? Stretching it...) We could see three hospitals from our balcony in Winnipeg. (The Mis, HSC and St. B - for my fellow Peggers.)
We work with a bunch of American ex-pats and they love it here! They can get all kinds of tests and treatments for WAY less money than they would pay in the US. I am often flabbergasted at how much money they have to shell out for basic life-saving treatments. It seems a violation of basic human rights in my Canadian opinion but that's getting a bit too political for this blog... I digress...

Another huge difference is that in the Philippines, you don't need a prescription. For anything. As far as I can tell... Sure pharmacies keep even the Advil behind the counter but you can ask for that and some antibiotics or whatever else they have in stock. No papers required. Some drugs here are way cheaper than in North America, some are more and some are simply not available.

After visiting the women's prison in Davao, our guide asked us to wash our feet with these cool little foot wipes she had. We're always carrying hand sanitizer to be safe. Many public washrooms do not have soap. My foot/leg is bottom right. In case you care. Those are my toes.

Oh yeah... and every time I get bitten by a mosquito, I think I have dengue. I thought I had dengue for real this weekend but now it has devolved into more of a stomach bug so I don't know... The simplest things can make you sick if you are in a foreign place. Parents! Take your kids travelling when they are young so they can build up an immunity to everywhere!


  1. I like your foot:)

    I know! I feel the same way towards my American friends regarding their health care. The stories I've heard..yikes.

    Its neat to hear how other countries work!

  2. It's interesting to hear other people's stories. I live in the U.S. I have not been to a hospital since I was 4 to get my shots, except when I broke my small toe in college and they gave me a flat shoe. I never got the prescription.

    I have a weird thing about drugs though. I don't even take aspirin. I'd rather be in pain. At least I understand what I'm feeling. When I take aspirin or ibuprofen, it feels so bizarre in my body, I can't take it.

    I'm now in my late 30s. I have friends who think I must be lying about not going to the hospital. They wonder how I could possibly survive when I get sick. It's easy. I just get over it. I feel pretty healthy too. :)

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

    1. That is amazing that you've been so healthy your whole life!

      I try to avoid drugs but I do give in when I'm feeling really crappy. And when my mom had cancer I was glad that she could get treatment and not lose her small business over it. :) (She's totally clear and healthy now.)

      Colds and flus can work there way out but some issues require a bit more attention.

  3. Wow, that's a great pic of the needle going in! I can almost feel it :-(