Financial Assistance for the Treatment of Schizophrenia in Select Institutions in the Philippines
Objective. This paper aims to characterize existing financial assistance available to patients with schizophrenia. Specifically, we described (1) the funding mechanisms for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia; (2) the process for accessing financial assistance; and (3) the experiences of consumers of services of these support mechanisms.
Methods. We employed qualitative techniques using key informant interviews (KII) and focus group discussion (FGD). Key informants were officials from institutions providing or offering financial assistance for patients with any health-related concerns, including schizophrenia. Focus group participants were support group members or caregivers of patients with schizophrenia. Purposive sampling was used to select participants for both providers and consumers of financial assistance or scheme. Topic guides for KII and FGD were used for data collection. Thematic analysis was performed on the qualitative data gathered from the informants and focus group participants.
Results. Securing financial assistance for schizophrenia followed a generally similar process, whether the source is from government offices or civil society organizations, and can be grouped into three main stages: (a) pre-application, (b) application, and (c) post-application. While the process of seeking financial assistance appears to be straightforward, issues were encountered in all of the stages by both providers and recipients alike, namely: (a) Financial assistance as an augmentation to patient resources; (b) Mismatch between demand and service capability; (c) Measures of organizational effectiveness; (d) Health professionals and support groups as "bridges" / "facilitators" to financial assistance providers; (e) Financial and non-financial costs incurred by caregivers in applying for financial assistance; and (f) Recipient-provider relationship as a barrier to the feedback process.
Conclusion. This study provides a glimpse of available financial and other relevant assistance to clients, including clients suffering from schizophrenia. More extensive research covering more organizations, support groups, and caregivers from different parts of the country is recommended.