Sarangani allots P57.7 million to improve COVID-19 centers

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 April) – The provincial government of Sarangani has allotted P57.7 million to improve the operations of its medical isolation or patient care centers for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said they will utilize the funds to provide the additional equipment and facilities for the isolation centers to ensure the proper management of possible COVID-19 cases.

He said these were situated in the municipal and district hospitals in Maitum, Kiamba, Maasim, Malungon, and Glan and at the Sarangani Health Care Facility (SHCF) in Alabel town.

“We will strengthen the isolation medical facilities in our municipalities and at the SHCF and make sure that they are safe,” the governor said in a statement.

He said the move will allow them to cater suspected patients from the province and avoid crowding at the referral hospitals here.

The provincial government opened two weeks ago a special isolation center for COVID-19 patients at the Department of Health-run Regional Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Kawas, Alabel town.

But Solon said the retrofitted facility will only cater to special cases, especially those that are asymptomatic, and will only be used as “last resort” for suspected and probable patients.

The governor said the funds were part of the province’s supplemental budget number 02 that was approved last week by the provincial board.

It will be drawn from the national government’s Bayanihan Grant to Provinces, which was officially transferred to provincial government’s account last April 24.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani health officer, said the bulk of the funding will be used for the acquisition of additional equipment needed by the hospitals in dealing with suspected COVID-19 cases.

He said these include ventilators, chest X-ray machines, mobile digital X-ray machines and misting machines.

The official said the province will maintain its partnership with private hospitals in this city through its referral system but said they are working on handling suspected cases with mild symptoms in local facilities.

Before sending patients to the referral hospitals, he said they will first undergo assessment and triaging at the SHCF. (MindaNews)