DOH okays P70M for hospital upgrading in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 February) — The Department of Health (DOH) has approved the release of around P70 million in grants for the expansion and upgrading of two hospitals in South Cotabato province.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr, South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief, said Monday they are now completing the requirements set by the DOH central office to facilitate the release of the funds and the implementation of the projects.

He said the grant will mainly fund the construction of additional facilities at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City and the completion of the Surallah Municipal Hospital in Surallah town.

“The DOH has committed to complete the upgrading of these facilities before the end of the year,” the official said in a statement.

Aturdido said the two hospitals were among the 20 DOH-retained and local government-run facilities that the agency has prioritized for development and upgrading this year.

He said the implementation of the two hospital projects will be funded by the agency’s continuing Health Facilities Enhancement Program.

As required by the DOH, he said the local government submitted earlier this month the floor plan of the proposed expansion works at the provincial hospital.

He said the plan was developed by the Provincial Engineering Office, in coordination with the IPHO.

Aturdido said the floor plan covers the upgrading of the provincial hospital’s main building, expansion of the second level or second floor to house a burn unit and the improvement of the hospital’s emergency room.

Aside from the P70-million grant, he said South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is currently seeking additional funds from the national government to facilitate the construction of a new three-storey building for the hospital.

He said the local government has already committed to fund the initial implementation of the project, which is mainly intended to increase the hospital’s bed capacity.

“This will eventually answer the problem of congestion at the provincial hospital,” he pointed out.

For the Surallah Municipal Hospital, which is also known as the provincial hospital annex, Aturdido said the DOH grant will be utilized to for the upgrading of vital sections of the hospital, especially its wards.

The DOH and the provincial government signed a memorandum of agreement in July last year for the operationalization, expansion and development of the hospital.

The agency allotted an initial P63 million in 2014 to fund the necessary improvements on the facility, which would later be converted into a regional medical center.

Under the agreement, the DOH will fully assume the administration and management of the hospital as well as its expansion and development.

The provincial hospital annex sits on a five-hectare property beside the national highway in Barangay Dajay in Surallah that was donated by the municipal government.

The construction of the facility was completed in October 2013 but its opening was put on hold by the provincial government due to the lack of personnel and problems with its budget. (MindaNews)