GenSan eyes upgrading health systems

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 October) — In a bid to improve its health care delivery, the city government has adopted a development plan that sets the upgrading and modernization of the area’s health systems within the next five years.
Jose Orlando Acharon, executive assistant for health of the city mayor’s office, said the plan mainly focuses on the strengthening of the City Integrated Health Services Office’s (CIHSO) manpower and service delivery mechanisms as well as the improvement of local health facilities and equipment.
He said it pushes for the institutionalization of the zoning concept in the delivery of various health care services to residents of the city’s 26 barangays.
“This is a pet project (of the city government) and among the top priorities for funding and implementation,” Acharon said.
Under the plan, which was endorsed by CIHSO chief Dr. Edgardo Sandig, he said the city government will hire additional health personnel yearly for the next five years.
He said a local government-commissioned study showed that the CIHSO currently lacks personnel to properly deliver the necessary health services and address related concerns of local residents.
Acharon said they will also acquire new equipment and vehicles to replace the “dilapidated” units that were still being used by the CIHSO.
The official said the development plan includes additional investments for the further expansion and upgrading of the services of the city district hospital, which is operating as an economic enterprise of the local government, as well as other local health facilities.
Based on the city government’s proposed P1.130 billion budget for 2013, the city district hospital will receive an allotment of around P130 million for its operations next year.
Such allocation was up by around P6 million from its P124-million budget this year, noted city council’s appropriations committee chair Councilor Richard Atendido.
To further improve the CIHSO’s operations, Acharon said the local government will strengthen the established local health zones within the city.
He was referring to the inter-local health zones (ILHZ) earlier established by the CIHSO as part of its adoption of the Local Area Health Development Zone (LAHDZ) project piloted in nearby South Cotabato several years ago while Dr. Sandig was still the province’s health officer.
A project briefer said LAHDZ 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 on 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.
Acharon said the city government is currently working for the adoption of a unified zoning scheme for the city to enhance the implementation of the ILHZ project.
He said various local and national government agencies, among them the Department of Education and the Philippine National Police, are currently using different zoning arrangements for the city.
“We will harmonize these zoning arrangements and set some measures to help address some objections raised by some barangays regarding the health zone concept,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)