LANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) will do all it can to deliver and restore basic health services to war-torn Marawi City and other affected areas in Lanao del Sur and and Lanao del Norte, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said on Thursday, June 1.
Intense fighting between government forces and the Maute terrorist group has sparked fears of a humanitarian disaster as more than 90,000 Marawi City residents have been displaced and have sought shelter in nearby towns of Saguiran and Balo-i, and Iligan City.
Ubial said the DOH will bring in P1 million worth of health commodities from Cagayan de Oro. About P1.4 million worth of medical supplies, and health kits and water containers, will be flown in from Manila, she added.
“The DOH will also be allocating P25 million to various DOH and local hospitals to ensure that routine health services will be continued,” Ubial said on Thursday.
Ubial also said they are going to work on the reopening of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (AMPC), Marawi’s lone tertiary hospital.
Dr Amer Saber, APMC chief of hospital, denied that the hospital had been overrun by the Maute Group. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
Saber, however, confirmed that members of the Maute Group came to the hospital and brought in an injured comrade at the start of the firefight on May 23.
He said the men entered the facility and asked them if they could bring in a patient for treatment.
Their companions – 4 or 5 of whom were also armed – stayed outside the hospital gate and kept watch.
“They were very courteous and even greeted us with ‘Assalam Alaikum’ before asking us if they can bring in their patient,” Saber said.
The patient did not survive since he was already in critical condition when he was admitted.
Ubial said they will immediately restore routine health services at the APMC “as soon as the army and the police will clear Marawi City.”
Ubial added that APMC had lost a lot of medicines and vaccines since Tuesday since the city has no power.
“Many vaccines were destroyed because there is no power in Marawi City,” she said.
Ubial also added that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), in partnership with the DOH, will implement a pay-all concept in the affected areas of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.
“[PhilHealth] will provide health insurance coverage in all health facilities and they will be reimbursed,” she said.
Ubial added that other than the usual PhilHealth coverage, the DOH will shoulder excess billing at the hospital.
She said the government is committed to making all government health centers affected by the crisis in Marawi City fully functional. (READ: Lorenzana on Marawi crisis: ‘We still have 36 hours’)
The APMC is a government-run 438-bed capacity hospital, with about 700 staff, 108 of them doctors and over 300 nurses. – Rappler.com
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