Barangay health care a perennial problem PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 May 2016 13:42

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

One of the best programs of President-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte that he announced recently is his plan to assign one Doctor of Medicine (physician) in every barangay of the country. Not so much in Luzon or many parts of the Visayan Islands because they are better off.. But in Mindanao where  almost all barangays in the Islands do not have a doctor or a “lying-in clinic” just for extreme emergency.Only a few barangays in Mindanao have an assigned doctor. Only a Municipal Health Officer (MHO) that is usually assigned in the Poblacion, and, takes care of the health needs of all barangays of a municipality. Normally, a municipality has over 10 barangays with a distance of 10 to 20 kilometers from the town center and most of them with very bad roads or no road at all.

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To assign one physician in every barangay in the country is a gargantuan task with untold budget for its creation. But if President Duterte, will push through with this project, this will fulfill a long-awaited development that has been promised by many past presidents. To assign a physician in  every barangay is one thousand times better than the grant of financial windfall to the marginal families in a barangay like the 4Ps program. The 4Ps program is selective and has made many farmers abandon their farms and just be contented to receive their regular monthly stiffen of a few thousands of pesos, that is more than the share of income they get from their harvest, if they don’t own the land they are tilling. Land owners are disqualified to be beneficiary of a 4 Ps.

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All-weather roads must also be constructed to link barangays from each other and to the town center (poblacion). Without good all-weather roads, barangay health care will not have so much impact. It will still be difficult to transport the sick to the nearest hospital or medical supplies will not be adequate due to transport problems. President Duterte must prioritize Mindanao especially the Zamboanga Peninsula on this program to assign a doctor in every municipality and recruit doctors from the area.

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There are so many mortality in the barangays because of the lack of medical health services. Many poor barangay folks die of simple and curable sickness because there is no doctor in the barangay and a bad barangay road contributed to the early death of the patient. One simple case of loss of blood caused the untimely death of a boy who was gored by a carabao, because there was no emergency treatment or medicine or a resident doctor at the barangay health center, but only a midwife. The high schoolboy could have survived if proper emergency treatment was conducted and a good road that even a motorcycle can easily pass in going to the hospital. But, there was none, and the boy died a gory death.

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President Duterte must really make this barangay health project come true with efforts similar or more than what it takes to fight corruption, crimes and drugs in the country. What good does a crime-free country give, if her people are weak and sick? Health is wealth, Your Excellency Mr. President, please implement this noble project of barangay health care as soon as you will assume the Presidency, the barangays folks of the country, especially in Zamboanga Peninsula need them so much. The government owes it to them and no President of the Republic, except you Mr. President, has ever shown concern on the health care of barangay folks.

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Scoop: Let Zamboanga Del Sur and Zamboanga Del Norte barangays be the pilot areas of this project of one doctor for every barangay. These are the barangays where Subanen Indigenous Peoples live and who are the aborigines of the Peninsula. These are most neglected Filipinos in the country. Agree or disagree.

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