According to the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS), more training institutions in dermatology are needed outside the Philippine capital to meet the skin health concerns of Filipinos in the countryside. Currently, only 1,275 board-certified dermatologists are serving 109 million Filipinos.
Derma.Plus, a Germany-based medical research group, ranked the Philippines 55th out of 62 countries in skin cancer susceptibility. Its index “analyzes the ultraviolet factor, the skin tone by demographic percentages and rate of incidences from a range of countries to identify geographically where the highest rates of skin cancer are most likely to occur.” In the Philippines, more than 34% of Filipinos are in agriculture, forestry, fishing and construction, where outdoor labor is the norm. Because of the lack of skincare specialists outside Metro Manila, Filipinos with suspicious lesions have them checked at community health centers, increasing the risk of misdiagnosis.
The Philippines’ Department of Health strongly encourages training programs outside Metro Manila in preparation for universal health coverage that will allow Filipinos access to primary, preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care.