Philippines Mourns the Loss of Legendary Health Minister

He is renowned in the Philippines for bringing in landmark laws that helped the government


Jumat, 21 Nov 2014 17:31 WIB


Madonna Virola

Philippines Mourns the Loss of Legendary Health Minister

Philippines, Juan Flavier, Healt Minister, Yosi Kadiri, Madonna Virola

The Philippines this week held services to pay tribute to Senator Juan Flavier—who died at the age of 79 years old.

He is renowned in the Philippines for bringing in landmark laws that helped the government’s health and anti-corruption programs.
Romeo Infantado worked with Senator Juan Flavier when he was head of a hospital in Mindoro.

Romeo says -- Juan Flavier was a hands-on leader.
 “During the earthquake, that was 1994, during our founding day, on November 14, there were several injuries, damages were noticed.  When we called on the Department of Health, I was surprised that the Secretary personally came.”

Juan Flavier was the most popular Health minister in recent memory in the Philippines.

All sides of politics have praised his legacy in a special service in parliament.
 He is best known for the catchphrase "Let's DOH it," with was used to promote the health programs.

He created the chain smoking devil like character of Yosi Kadiri.  It became the country’s most successful anti-smoking campaigns.
34-year old Karla Norman says she was turned off smoking.
“I was 12 or 15 years old those times.  He ran “Yosi Kadiri” campaign.  It was a very distinct campaign wherein you see people smoking.  That you should not be smoking, it felt like that, we didn’t want to be associated with that habit.”

She also admires the fact that Flavier was consistently the "poorest" among the senators which was reflected in his statement of assets.
“He is a very down-to-earth person.  He wasn’t materialistic.  He went into politics to serve, not to become rich, he was known as always on time.  When he goes out for trips on the field, he made sure that he is served boiled corn, kamote, peanuts, fruits and vegetables.  He shunned any grandeur.”
Under his watch the Philippines was declared polio-free by the World Health organisation.
Doctor Elsa Alberto – who worked under him for forty years, says he put money into immunization.
“We covered all targeted babies for immunization, we started with massive campaigns, with a Mass, ringing of bells, and called on all sectors to join us, even our rebel brothers, for them to bring down their arms and support the babies.”
Flavier started his career as a village doctor.
 Dr Elsa Alberto says this gave him an understanding the needs of the poorest people.

“He knows the health problems of the country, what every mother and individual needs in order to uplift his health status. He was very witty, the health messages are in his jokes and he explained it thru a parable, thru a joke, so listeners will be amused and supporting his program. Some acronyms were for AIDS Prevention:  A for abstinence, B for be faithful and C for use condom.”
His open support for condoms and contraception put him in conflict with the powerful Catholic Church.
Dr Elsa Alberto says he was open about his views with the Church.
“He just kept on talking, go to the priest, to the Church and explain our stand.  Then the back up from the people and media to prove that we’re taking care of the health and welfare of the mother and the babies.”
He leaves behind four children and a brood of grandchildren and great grandchildren.


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