GenSan to build P50-M complex for health offices

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 June) – In a bid to improve its health services, the city government plans to establish by next year a P50-million building complex that will house various offices of the City Integrated Health Services Offices (CIHSO).

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, city health officer, said Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio has issued the go-signal for the construction of a permanent home for the CIHSO through the assistance of the Department of Health (DOH).

He said the local government, through the CIHSO, earlier applied for a P50-million financial grant from DOH for the construction and development of the new CIHSO office building and other needed structures.

“Our latest information is that the DOH is now reportedly considering the grant (for approval). Hopefully, we can start the construction by next year,” he said in a radio interview.

The CIHSO, which is the city’s biggest department, presently occupies a portion of the city district hospital in Baragay Lagao here.

Sandig said their offices were part of the hospital complex, which has been reeling from overcrowding problems due to the lack of rooms and other amenities.

For the proposed CIHSO complex, the official said they were looking at building a two-storey structure in one of the vacant lands owned by the local government.

He said among the site that they were considering was an idle portion at the back of the city district hospital.

“We’re still evaluating the proposed sites because we need a wider area for our new offices,” he said.

He said the proposed site and office building should be able to accommodate all offices of the CIHSO, including its laboratory and testing units.

The CIHSO is operating testing units for various diseases, among them for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

“GenSan is not an ordinary city. Its service or coverage area rivals that of a province and its districts are like municipalities already. So we must also implement some changes to improve our operations and service delivery,” Sandig said.

Aside from the construction of the new CIHSO building complex, the official said they are currently studying the implementation of the local health zone concept for the city’s districts and 26 barangays.

Sandig was referring to the Local Area Health Development Zone (LAHDZ) project that was piloted in nearby South Cotabato several years ago while he was still the province’s health officer.

A project briefer said LAHDZ or inter-local health zone (ILHZ) refers to a district or a catchment area composed of a number of neighboring municipalities or districts that were linked together to improve networking and strengthen cooperation with regard to health matters.

Areas within an established LAHDZ formulate, implement and evaluate their own local health plans, health information systems, two-way referral systems, health resources management and development systems, health care financing schemes, hospital regulations and management systems and community mobilization strategies, the briefer said.

Through the establishment of the LAHDZ or ILHZs, the provincial government of South Cotabato was able to rationalize local health services and improved health care delivery, especially in remote areas in the provinces, it added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)