When illness strikes and there is no one to turn to for help, people are tempted to resort to illegal means for remedy. For farmers and fishermen, for example, the seas and the forests become attractive sources of fast buck. To dispel the temptation, the City Government has undertaken effective and efficient health services.
City Health Office – The year 1993 marked the complete devolution of the health services from the national to local government unit. The following are the programs and activities undertaken by the City Health Office, now under the administration and funding of the city government, for the promotion and preservation of health among Puerto Princesans:
- Maternal and Child Care Program – Pre-and-post-natal services and treatment of common children’s diseases by trained health personnel – 117,063 beneficiaries.
- Immunization Program – Immunization of children and pregnant mothers with diphtheria, tetanus, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, measles and hepatitis – 92,964 beneficiaries.
- Malaria Control Program – Prevention, control and eradication of malaria diseases in the city, necessitating spraying of homes and case findings. Streams were cleaned and seeded with live fish – 82,666 beneficiaries.
- Dental Program – Oral examination, extraction, permanent and temporary filling of teeth among pre-schoolers, school children, pregnant women and other adults – 175,530 beneficiaries.
- Sanitation Program – Inspection and provision of safe water supply and sanitary facilities in restaurants, store, markets, lodging houses, schools and abattoirs.
- Nutritional And Food Programs – The City of Puerto Princesa is a recipient of the 1995 Green Banner Award for its Nutrition and Food Program which included such activities as growth monitoring, food assistance, micronutrient supplementation and other nutritional services like supplemental feeding programs. It has 145 Brgy. Nutrition Scholars. Total number of beneficiaries reached 51,781.
- Leprosy Control Program – Monitoring and treatment of leper patients – 40 beneficiaries.
- Family Planning Control Program – Attainment of a balanced population growth rate to enhance economic development. It involves the implementation of the city population program that consists of conducting classes of responsible parenthood, family planning and population development – 24,676 beneficiaries.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Program – Conduct of regular check-ups of hospitality girls to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, and AIDS in the city – 8,302 beneficiaries.
- Diarrheal Diseases Control Program – Control of diarrheal diseases of all ages through massive campaign of aerosol treatment.
- TB Control Program – Involves spectrum microscopy case finding, treatment of positive cases and follow-up of the same – 15,028 beneficiaries.
- Laboratory Services – Blood smear, sexually transmitter diseases, acid test bacilli, complete blood count, stool examination, pregnancy test, blood typing, platelets count, hemoglobin determination and blood sugar.
Satellite Hospital – The rural part of Puerto Princesa City before the program was a microcosm of a perfect laboratory for health disaster. Consider this: about 86,255 or 64.8% of its 133,000 population reside in 42 rural barangays most of which are infested with malaria-causing mosquitoes. Minimum transport time from the nearest barangay to the city proper, where its two hospital (one government and the other private) and a sprinkling of private medical clinics are located, is one hour. Transport frequency averages two times per day. And the roads are not necessarily the best in the world.
That was the situation then. Now it is totally different. When one is sick, he or a relative runs to the Barangay Chairman to report the incident. The Chairman calls the Satellite Hospital by radio and in comes the ambulance with a doctor, nurse or midwife. You are immediately brought to the nearest Satellite Hospital or to the better-equipped hospitals in the city proper, if the situation so warrants.
One of the biggest problems bedeviling the city’s rural population, composed mostly of farmers and fishermen, was how to cope with illness which was not really that infrequent considering their economic and living conditions. Even if one had the money, he would still have to contend with the problem of transport. If one had none, he was literally helpless. There was no government to run to for help. Many of them died without even seeing a doctor, others while even waiting for the jeepney to arrive.
The six Satellite Hospitals currently operating are located in strategic locations. The Napsan Satellite Hospital covers the southwest barangays; the one at Cabayugan covers the northwest end; San Rafael serves the northern areas; Salvacion the central portion; Mangingisda the two biggest southeast barangays of Mangingisda and Luzviminda; and Inagawan all the southeast barangays.
Each Satellite Hospital has a five-bed capacity and is equipped with radio communication, electricity courtesy of solar energy, ambulance, medicines; and, manned by a physician, nurses, midwives, radio operator, driver and a utility man. Each is open twenty four-hours a day. Since established, the Satellite Hospitals have assisted 131,968 patients in the following manner:
Consultations with treatment – 124,408
Confined – 3,370
Tooth Extraction – 2,846
Transported to the City – 1,101
Delivery – 177
Urine Examination – 66
The City Satellite Hospital has effectively demonstrated the city government’s sincerity in helping the marginalized sectors of society and has become monuments of trust as viewed by their beneficiaries.
The Health Program of the Hagedorn administration is multi-awarded. The Satellite Hospitals is a recipient of the Galing Pook Award after it was chosen as one of the most outstanding local government programs in the country. While the Green Banner Award was given by the National Nutrition Council of the Philippines in recognition of the city’s success in nutrition promotion.