COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 11 May) – Poor elderly patients admitted at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMC) here are getting additional relief upon their discharge.
CRMC and the Office of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Parliament Member Dr. Hashemi Nur Dilangalen launched on Tuesday a relief program that would provide essential packages to newly recovered patients of the facility who are indigent senior citizens.
Dubbed “Home Essentials for Local Patients or HELP for Apo Recovery Package Program for Senior Citizens,” qualified patients may avail of the package, which contains essential goods such as rice, noodles, canned goods, coffee and sugar, before they go home to their families.
“This is just the start…the stepping stone of greater health projects, not only for residents of Cotabato City but for other areas (of BARMM),” Dilangalen said during the launching ceremony held at the CRMC’s Malasakit Center.
Dilangalen said the program took off from a similar initiative previously launched in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi by Parliament Member Atty. John Anthony Lim.
He said they decided last February to adopt and replicate the program, and eventually negotiated with the CRMC management for its expansion in the area.
The official said his office will lobby for additional funding and other necessary support from concerned agencies and politicians so they can later expand its coverage to non-elderly indigent patients.
Commissioner Edwin G. Espejo of the National Commission of Senior Citizens, who graced the launching ceremony, lauded Dilangalen and Lim for initiating the implementation and expansion of the program.
He said it provides much needed follow-up care and relief to the poor elderly patients as well as their families.
“The senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable in terms of health and other challenges so this will really go a long way and help them a lot,” Espejo said in his speech.
Espejo assured NCSC’s full support to the program and expressed appreciation to the BARMM leadership for including the senior citizens as among the top priorities for its social services initiatives.
Parliament Member Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr. filed last March Bangsamoro Transition Authority Bill 121, also known as the Bangsamoro Commission for Senior Citizen Act of 2022.
Sinolinding earlier said the bill seeks to create an office that shall ensure that the rights and privileges of senior citizens are respected and fully implemented in the region.
During the program’s launching, an initial 20 newly recovered and discharged patients, who were assessed and vetted through the Malasakit Center, received the recovery packages.
“This is a big help for me and my family. Thank you so much,” said Felix Calunsag, a beneficiary from Poblacion 4 here.
Dr. Ishmael Dimaren, Medical Center Chief II of CRMC, said the initiative complements their continuing efforts to provide better services and care to their patients, especially the poor and elderly.
“We need this kind of program. We’re hoping for more initiatives and collaborations like this,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)