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DOH Surgical Caravan makes Stopover in Lubao Hospital

By Albert B. Lacanlale

LUBAO, Pampanga–Free minor and major surgeries were afforded to residents here under the national government’s Surgical Caravan program.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, along with Gov. Lilia G. Pineda and Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, led the launching of the caravan at the Escolastica Romero District Hospital (ERDH) in Barangay San Nicolas 1 here.

The caravan, Ubial said, offers operation, ranging from minor to major cases, at no cost to indigent patients in need of surgical procedures.

Three billion pesos was allocated through the General Appropriations Act of 2017 for the program dubbed as “ToDOH Alaga, May TSeKaP na, May Operasyon Pa.”

“This initiative is an offshoot of the Philippine Health Agenda (PHA)-Checkup program particularly aimed at realizing the provision of surgical intervention to those who need them, which was among the early commitments of the Duterte administration,” Ubial said during the press conference held at the P25-million DOH building erected inside the ERDH compound.

Under the program, DOH regional offices and hospitals, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), and local government units collaborate for fund/resource sharing, identification and clearance beneficiaries, and implementation arrangements.

Philhealth shoulders expenses that are covered by the firm’s existing case rates while the DOH pays for the remaining balance in the patients’ bills.

Other laboratory and diagnostic procedures, drugs, medicines, supplies, and professional fees incurred before and after the operation may also be covered by the DOH Medical Assistance Program funds.

Ubial said medicines such as antibiotics and pain relievers are assured to be available in government medical institutions to eliminate the need of patients to buy medicines from private drug stores.

In Central Luzon, more than 3,000 beneficiaries have been identified while 90 from the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga have undergone operation through the caravan.

Gov. Pineda said the province of Pampanga spends close to P100 million every year for medical assistance such as hemodialysis, chemotherapy and various surgical procedures.

“Nade-drain ang mga tao sa laki ng gastos para sa dialysis, chemotherapy na pwede sanang maagapan kung mayroong libreng pagpapagamot katulad nitong Surgical caravan. Minsan ang isang maliit na bukol nagiging cancer dahil hindi naagapan. Ngayon, maiiwasan na ito,” Pineda said.