MANILA, Philippines – The rural health unit (RHU) of Panukulan town in Quezon province received Calabarzon’s first sea ambulance on Friday, September 6.
The sea ambulance was purchased by the Department of Health (DOH) in Calabarzon for patients in the far-flung areas in Panukulan and the Polilio group of islands, classified as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) by the health department.
Patients from island communities serviced by the ambulance would be brought to the Claro M. Recto Memorial Hospital, a health facility with a 25-bed capacity in Infanta town. The sea ambulance can travel from Panukulan to Infanta within 45 minutes in good weather conditions, DOH-Calabarzon said.
The sea ambulance cost P3 million, according to DOH-Calabarzon regional director Eduardo Janairo. The fund came from the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, one of whose goals is to enhance medical facilities to benefit patients who live in GIDAs.
Janairo during the ambulance’s turnover ceremony on Saturday said that they have yet to furnish the boat with the sufficient medical equipment and emergency kits. He said DOH-Calabarzon would “endeavor to acquire them immediately.”
The DOH-Calabarzon director also said that they would purchase 7 more sea ambulances, which would amount to a total of P21 million, for other GIDAs in Quezon province, among them the towns of Alabat, Calauag, Patnanungan, Perez, Quezon, and Polilio.
Janairo emphasized that the purchase of the ambulance was largely possible due to taxpayer’s money. He also said that the launch of the sea ambulance ensured that we strengthen our healthcare system.
Here are some pictures of the sea ambulance during its turnover on Saturday:
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said that the sea ambulance cost P21 million. This has been corrected.