Mindanao heart center opens in Davao

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III led inaugural rites at the Davao Medical Center compound Wednesday, site of the three-storey, P77.5-million MHC.

Duque said the opening of the center in Mindanao is important as studies show cardio-vascular diseases have remained the leading cause of morbidity in Mindanao and the rest of the country.

The MHC is the fifth government facility dedicated to heart services, The Philippine Heart Center was the first, set up in Quezon City in 1975. Maruya told a press conference Wednesday that the MHC is not only for those who can afford to pay.

Indigent patients can avail of the services as the center intends to put up a foundation. Maruya said a number of government and non-government organizations can raise funds to shoulder a portion or the whole of the accounts of indigent patients after a screening procedure.  

He said patients seeking consultation, evaluation and surgery for various heart ailments do not have to travel to Manila or overseas as the center is at par with the Philippine Heart Center in terms of doctors and equipment.  The 50-bed center offers both outpatient and inpatient services, according to an information sheet provided to reporters.

Outpatient services include
cardiac clinics for consultation and evaluation; diagnostic work up such us EKG, stress test, 3D Echocardiography, Cath Lab examination, and Radiography.

They also offer laboratory work-up such as 24-hour holter monitoring, invasive procedures, cardiac rehabilitation, psycologic orientation and intervention, and dietary counseling.

Inpatient services include: intensive care monitoring and management, ward private room confinement, surgical interventive or therapeutic operations.

Dr. Gerardo Cunanan, DMC chief, said the center will make heart-related health services closer and more affordable to Mindanawons.  "The thing about the center is the availability of these services in Mindanao," he said.

According to MHC estimates, patients could save around P200,000 in operations and do away with transportation and lodging expenses if procedures were done in Manila.

He said aside from the services now more accessible to the public, it is also about 30 percent cheaper than that in Manila and 20 percent than in a Davao private hospital that runs a heart center, too.

To have a coronary artery by-pass graft would cost at least P650,000 at the Philippine Heart Center while only P470, 000 at the MHC and P565,000 at a local private hospital, according to an MHC information sheet. The center will have three sections: pediatric, adult and surgical sections, which will be run by six technicians and 11 physicians and a number of consultants with expertise on cardiology.

The government used funds from Senator Ernesto Maceda (P 37.5-M); PCSO (P10-M), Department of Health (P15-M) and DMC (P15-M) to construct the building. Equipment also came from the other half or Maceda’s fund ( P37.5), a grant-loan package from the Dutch government (P227-M), DOH (P15-M) and a DMC counterpart (P5-M).