GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 August) – The city government has embarked on the rehabilitation and upgrading of its 26 barangay health centers to provide better health services to local residents.
Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) chief, said the move is part of the local government’s ongoing efforts to improve the capacity of local health centers and personnel in addressing basic health concerns, especially those involving children and maternal health.
“This is anchored on the city government’s commitment to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health among residents,” he said.
Sandig said the two health concerns were among the eight Millennium Development Goals that 189 members of the United Nations, including the Philippines, had pledged to achieve by the year 2015.
As part of the program, the health official said five barangays – Tambler, San Isidro, Tinagacan, Mabuhay and Katangawan – initially received a grant of P7.5 million or P1.5 million each for the repair and rehabilitation of their health center buildings and facilities.
He said the funds were sourced from the Department of Health’s facilities enhancement program.
Sandig said the CIHSO and the city government is currently looking for additional funds to facilitate the repair and rehabilitation of the health centers in the city’s 21 other barangays.
He said Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio had committed to prioritize the funding and implementation of the initiative, which was listed in the city’s investment plan for health.
“Aside from these, we’re continually upgrading the facilities and equipment of our health centers. We’ve initially distributed stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors and other basic equipment,” he said.
In terms of medicine, Sandig said the city government has a standing allocation of P19 million for the purchase of medicine for use by the barangay health centers.
He said such funds were on top of the annual allocation for medicine of the city district hospital and other CIHSO units.
The city government is currently pushing for the establishment of a dialysis center at the city district hospital compound here and has initially allotted an initial P12 million for the construction of its building.
It is also planning to build a P50 million building complex that will house the administrative and operational units of the CIHSO.
To further improve its operations, Sandig said the CIHSO has started implementing 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 regards 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.
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. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)