Use health centers, Manilenos reminded
Mayor Joseph Estrada on Sunday called on Manileños to patronize the health centers in their communities, which he said are well-equipped and funded to provide free primary healthcare services.
His call was aimed at reducing overcrowding and long lines at the six city-run hospitals in Manila.
This year, Estrada has increased the budget of the city’s newly renovated 59 community health centers and 12 lying-in clinics to better serve its purpose: provide first aid, maternal and child healthcare, diagnosis of social diseases, and other basic health services to all the members of the community.
“We have a number of barangay health centers spread all over our 896 barangays with a full complement of professional, highly-trained doctors and medical staff. They’re there to serve you,” he said.
As much as they want to accommodate all patients at the six hospitals run by the city government, Estrada pointed out there is a limit to the number of patients the hospitals could serve a day.
Citing a report submitted by Dr. Regina Bagsic, the overall coordinator of the Manila-run hospitals, Estrada said the number of admissions at the out-patient departments have been rising in the past few months.
“More and more patients are pouring in our hospitals. This is an indication that our free and quality medical and health services are efficient. But there’s a downside: Overcrowding and longer waiting time,” Estrada stressed.
To avoid these inconveniences, and to relieve the pressure on the city hospitals that should concentrate on more serious diseases, he appealed to the Manilenos to go to the nearest CHCs first for minor illnesses and other medical needs that could be handled well by the barangay health staff.
Bagsic said Manila’s CHCs provide free and quality primary healthcare services such as immunization, sanitation, maternal care (pre- and post-natal), and dental, among others.
CHCs are also now distributing free maintenance medicines to senior citizens suffering from chronic illnesses.
“They have the funds and medicines for these. That’s why we want the people at the community health centers. They have the same services,” Bagsic said.
Bagsic noted that the six public hospitals’ out-patient departments have been overwhelmed by patients requiring continuous medications.
Manila’s public hospitals are Sta. Ana Hospital, Ospital ng Tondo, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, and Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital.
For 2017, the City Council approved the allocation of an additional P360 million to the budgets of the 59 CHCs and 12 lying-in clinics, through the Manila Health Department, to strengthen its capability to handle less-serious illnesses and distribute the required maintenance drugs directly to patients, especially senior citizens.
At GABMMC, for instance, the number of admitted patients for the last six months has reached 3,525 and 23,721 at the OPD, with an occupancy rate of more than 100 percent, according to Bagsic.
At the Ospital ng Tondo, there were 3,645 admissions, also in the last six months, with more than 29,000 at the OPD.
Overall, 16,598 patients were served and treated in the six city hospitals during the same period, excluding the 141,474 others who were treated at the OPDs, Bagsic said.