ILOILO CITY, Nov. 17 (PNA) — For nearly six years, the provincial government spent PHP5.24 billion in investment to improve the state of 12 province-owned hospitals here under its flagship program Hospital Efficiency Assurance Through Reform and Transformation (HEART).
“We will do everything to upgrade the quality of our hospitals. I am committed to pour millions of investments to make these hospitals real hospitals for the poor,” said Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. during the Provincial Health Summit held Tuesday at the Casa Real here.
The summit, organized by Zuellig Family Foundation and Department of Health, gathered 150 key health leaders as part of their Health Leadership and Governance Program, a USAID-assisted initiative that aims to improve the health outcomes of 54 poor provinces in the country, including Iloilo.
The summit aims to discuss and resolve, among others, the challenges and gaps in provincial and municipal health systems to prevent the occurrence of maternal and infant mortalities.
Records from the Provincial Health Office revealed that there were 14 registered maternal deaths in 2015 and 58 infant mortalities in 2014.
“We have achieved a lot in terms of health governance. But there is so much more to do,” Gov. Defensor said.
Of the PHP5.24-billion spending for health, PHP1 billion was for the development of hospital infrastructure and procurement of brand new medical equipment and the same amount was spent for the hospitals’ maintenance and other operating expenses.
A total of PHP300 million was also spent for the upgrading of three hospitals located in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas — Aleosan District Hospital in Alimodian, Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Balasan and Dr. Ricardo Provido Memorial District Hospital in Calinog.
Financial assistance for the hospitalization of indigent patients through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office reached PHP193 million and the expenditure for the province’s nutrition program, water-sealed toilets and other capital outlay reached PHP19 million.
Defensor asked doctors, nurses and other medical staff working in the 12 district hospitals to fulfill their duties with love and compassion, especially in dealing with the poor.
“Do not force the poor to pay his hospital bills. Release them after their treatment. Let me remind you that these hospitals were built not for the rich but for the poor,” he stressed.
No matter how the province improves its hospital infrastructure, if the service remains poor, public service will be a failure, he added.
“We should be prepared to loose. If we want to put substance to our sworn duties, I am asking you to sacrifice,” he said. (PNA)