The National Health Care Delivery System in the Philippines is predominantly allopathic.
There are about 250 000 practitioners of traditional medicine in the country. Approximately five to eight chiropractors are practising in the Philippines (45). There are no privately owned hospitals providing formal traditional or complementary/alternative medical services. As of 1999, only a handful of Government hospitals offered acupuncture services to the general public.
Natural medicines are marketed over the counter in dozens of health food stores and in a limited number of pharmacies (260).
The Department of Health has developed a national programme on traditional medicine together with a six-year plan of work. In 1993, a traditional medicine division was established within the Department of Health to support the integration of traditional medicine into the national health care system as appropriate, with technical support from the World Health Organization (261).
The Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act was signed by the President in December 1997. It states that it is the policy of the Government to improve the quality and delivery of health care services to the Filipino people through the development of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine and its integration into the national health care delivery system. The Act created the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Complementary/Alternative Health Care (213), which will be established as an autonomous agency of the Department of Health. The Institute's mission is to accelerate the development of traditional and complementary/alternative health care in the Philippines, provide for a development fund for traditional and complementary/alternative health care, and support traditional and complementary/alternative medicine in other ways.
Training in traditional medicine for allopathic practitioners is a priority in the country. Collaboration on education and research between institutions in the Philippines and other countries has also been established (213).
In the Philippines, traditional birth attendants may legally work only in areas where physicians or registered midwives are not available.
The Board of Medicine Resolution 31 of 2 March 1983 (262) recognizes acupuncture as "a modality of treatment for certain ailments to be practised only by registered physicians in the Philippines". The Board is mandated to promulgate rules and regulations to govern the practice of acupuncture and to evaluate and assess the annual reports submitted by practitioners "on their experiences and the results of their clinical treatment of cases" to determine if they may continue to practice legally.
There is no chiropractic law.
Education and training
More than 200 Government allopathic physicians have been trained in acupuncture.