The Puerto Princesa City government will be opening more upgraded satellite clinics in rural barangays, providing free basic diagnostic and medical services to residents.
On Friday, March 4, the latest enhanced satellite clinic in Barangay Luzviminda was commissioned in a ceremony with mayor Lucilo Bayron and other city government officials.
City Health Office (CHO) chief Dr. Ric Panganiban said that two more such clinics are in the works.
“Kaya tinawag natin na enhanced kasi upgraded kumpara sa ibang satellite clinics natin. Ang existing satellite clinics ngayon ay pito, so pangwalo ito (Luzviminda), tapos meron tayong isang bago na bubuksan saka-sakali. Kapag natapos ‘yon, ‘yong sa Macarascas,” Panganiban said in his speech.
“Magkakaroon din tayo ng isa pang enhanced satellite clinic sa Brgy. San Rafael at meron din pong isa pang enhanced satellite clinic sa Brgy. Napsan,” he added.
Panganiban explained that the Luzviminda enhanced satellite clinic offers x-ray services, ultrasound services for pregnant women, birthing services, a mini-laboratory for medical tests, animal bite treatment, and tuberculosis-directly-observed treatment short-course (TB-DOTS).
CHO personnel working at the satellite clinic, which started operating on February 22, will be trained to deal with animal bite cases, he said. Bite sufferers will no longer need to be taken to hospitals in the city center because anti-rabies medicine will be available.
The x-ray services, on the other hand, will aid in the monitoring of tuberculosis in the community. He said if individuals are diagnosed with the potentially serious infectious disease, they can already be provided with the medicine and treated without going far.
Mayor Bayron, in his speech, explained why he prefers to construct satellite clinics rather than new hospitals throughout the city. He stated that the focus would be on providing people in need with immediate access to diagnostic services so that they would not have to be hospitalized.
On February 27, a 30-year-old mother gave birth to a healthy baby girl at the newly-commissioned enhanced satellite clinic, which served as a birthing facility for the first time.
“Ang approach natin sa kalusugan, hindi na siguro tayo magpapatayo ng ospital, dahil ang ospital ay para sa may sakit. Mas maganda ‘yong ganito, ‘yong diagnostic center, bago pa lang ang tao magkakasakit, inaalam na kung ano ang problema para mabigyan ng advice, ano ang bawal kainin, kailangan bang mag-exercise, hindi na siya hahantong sa ospital,” he said in a speech.
“Mahalaga na ang mga mamamayan natin ay malusog. Kasi ang kanilang trabaho, kailangan pa rin ang kalusugan, magsasaka man sila, mangingisda, nagtitinda sa sari-sari store. Kung sila ay magkasakit ay hindi sila makakapagtrabaho. Kung wala silang kita, apektado ang kanilang pamilya,” he added.
Hospital no longer needed
Bayron urged members of the City Council, led by vice mayor Nancy Socrates, to back him up in his position that a hospital is no longer needed.
In rural communities, he said, the city’s health approach is to diagnose problems and establish suitable treatment.
“Yong approach natin sa kalusugan, [at] sana magkakasama tayo sa Sanggunian, na hindi na siguro tayo magtatayo ng ospital. Kasi yong ospital, para sa may sakit. Ang mas maganda, yong ganito, diagnostic center. Kaya kung ang taong magkakasakit ay ini-examine na, inaalam na ang problema para mabigyan ng tamang advises,” he said.
Bayron said that the satellite facility’s laboratory equipment is just the beginning and that more is on the way.
Main city health center
According to Panganiban, a major city health center “as big as city hall” is under construction, as planned by mayor Bayron’s administration.
“Isa yon sa isa pang titingnan natin mga this coming… ewan ko, baka ipamadali ni mayor yan. Hindi ko alam, baka ngayong taon ay matapos or early next year,” he said.
According to Bayron, the projects, including the commissioning of the Puerto Princesa City Police Station 2 in Brgy. Irawan on the occasion of the city’s 150th founding anniversary and 18th Balayong Festival, are linked to providing the best service to residents in the city’s southeast.
“Lahat talaga ay naka tahi tahi, ang tingin ko kasi, ang serbisyo natin ay parang banig na naka-weave — ito ang health, ito ang education, dapat hilain mo sa isa’t isa para naibibigay natin yong kabuoan ng serbisyo ng pamahalaan,” he added. (with reports from Celeste Anna Formoso)