The island of Samar, home to more than two million residents, may soon have a tertiary hospital.
Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday filed bill to establish the Samar Island Medical Center.
Pangilinan said in a statement that Covid-19 pandemic exposed the gaps in the country’s healthcare system and that Samar desperately needs a new hospital to serve the province.
“Nakita natin ang maraming pagkukulang sa ating healthcare system dahil sa COVID-19 pandemic. Sa buong bansa mula sa datos noong 2018, meron lamang isang hospital bed para sa 2,228 na mamamayan. Sa Samar naman, meron lamang isang hospital bed para sa 2,174 na mamamayan. Hindi makatarungan ito kung kaya’t inihain natin ang SBN 1791,” Pangilinan said.
SBN 1791 or An Act Establishing the Samar Island Medical Center aims to build a tertiary hospital in Calbayog City, Samar. It will have a minimum capacity of 100 beds under the direct administrative and technical supervision of the Department of Health. In its Philippine Health Facility Development Plan 2017-2022,the DOH set a target of 1 hospital bed per 800 citizens.
“Mahalagang magkaroon ng government hospital mismo sa Calbayog City upang masigurong mayroong access sa abot-kaya at dekalidad na serbisyong medikal ang ating mga kababayan sa Samar Island. Hindi na nila kailangan pang pumunta sa ibang probinsya para lamang magpatingin o komunsulta sa ibang government hospitals. Para po ito sa ating mga kababayan sa Samar,” Pangilinan said.
Just recently, a counterpart bill already passed a House of Representative panel.
House Bill (HB) No.1153 or the Act establishing the Samar Island Medical Center was approved by the Committee on Health headed by Rep. Angelina Tan of Quezon during a virtual hearing on August 12.
Tingog Sinirangan Party-List Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, principal author of the bill decried in her sponsorship speech that Samar Island, even though the third largest island in the country, does not even have a Level 3 government hospital.
“The island of Samar is the third largest island in the country and is also home to three provinces–Northern Samar, (Western) Samar, and Eastern Samar–and to a population of more than two million residents. However there is not a single tertiary government hospital on the island,” Romualdez said.
“Patients and their families have to travel four to five hours from Northern Samar, three to four hours from Eastern Samar, and two to three hours from Samar just to get to the nearest government tertiary hospital located in Tacloban (Leyte). With these three provinces already having one of the highest poverty incidence in the country, the availability of accessible and affordable hospital care is one of its most pressing needs,” she explained. Rommel F. Lopez