Department of Health (DOH) officer in charge Maria Rosario Vergeire, has committed to providing extra support to the health programs of Puerto Princesa City and the province of Palawan, as part of an effort to strengthen the integration system of Universal Health Care (UHC).

The health department’s priority for the province is to elevate the Ospital ng Palawan to a level 3 category hospital. This upgrade aims to provide a broader range of services not only in the province but also throughout the MIMAROPA region.

“We are working on that together with Dr. Melecio Dy. Although our major issue now is the health human resources. Kasi para maging level 3 ang isang ospital, kailangan merong apat na major departments—kailangan may mga espesyalista, may extra services. Kung serbisyo ang pag-uusapan, katulad ng ia-add natin, madali lang yun. Yun lamang talagang permanenting mga espesyalista sa bawat department ang pinagtatrabahuhan namin ngayon,” Vergeire said during her courtesy visit to Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

During the meeting with Vergeire, Mayor Bayron highlighted to her the necessity for medical students at Palawan State University (PSU) to complete their internship.

“Rest assured that we are working towards that and hopefully we can get the necessary health human resources para yung department ay mabuo natin and then we can upgrade the hospital,” she added.

The health official also mentioned that they are exploring options to provide further aid to the medical center being built by the city government. Specifically, they are considering the provision of five units of dialysis beds.

Additionally, Vergeire stated that the health department will investigate potential support for the city’s satellite clinics, aligning with DOH’s goal to enhance healthcare facilities.

“Priority naman natin yung mga ganitong areas especially yung ganitong specialized services tulad ng dialysis. That would be part of our priorities for our 2024 budget, kahit siguro limang upuan for dialysis, we can be able to provide,” she said.

“We are also working on that to create the network of primary health facililties. Isa rin sa pagtitibayin natin dito sa Puerto Princesa ay yung mga satellite clinics nyo para hindi na sila masyadong pupunta sa mga ospital, less burden for everybody. So pag nabuo yung mga facilities na pinapagawa ninyo, kung ano man ang equipments na kailangan maari kayong mag-submit,” she said.

Malaria free campaign
At the same time, Vergeire reiterated the department’s dedication to aid the provincial government in its efforts to declare Palawan as malaria-free.

“Last time that we were here, we committed P12 million so that would start this year, 2024 2025 hanggang 2030 and hanggang makita natin na hopefully, maging malaria-free tayo sa Palawan. I would now instruct our regional office through ARD Diez to set a meeting with you. Let’s organize as to timelines that in six months do we do the surveys among these municipalities which are highly burdened,” she said.

“As to our facilities, kasama naman sa ating long term plan for our Philippine health facilities na lahat ng mababang level na ospital, yan ang gusto naming umpisahan,” she added.