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MIMAROPA’s first sea ambulance caters to Calamian group of islands in Palawan

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One of the essential addition to the Department of Health’s (DOH) medical and health service delivery in MIMAROPA is the sea ambulance donated to the DOH – Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (DOH-CGSH). The donation was funded by the Sasakawa Memorial Medical Health Foundation (SMHF) and the Association of Professional Motor Boat Racers of Japan (APMBRJ).

It was through the determination of Dr. Arturo C. Cunanan, Jr. that the sea ambulance materialized. In 2009, after being appointed as the new Chief of CSGH, one of his first endeavor was to bring the hospital’s medical and health services closer to the people of the four municipalities of Calamian namely Culion, Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan as well as to the neighboring island municipalities of Northern Palawan such as El Nido, Cuyo, Dumaran, Agutaya and Taytay.

In November of 2013, Typhoon Yolanda came to ravage the island of Culion leaving it isolated and depressed. Sea transportation were wrecked and communications were inoperative. Many residents were affected and in need of medical assistance. These challenges only made Dr. Cunanan’s resolve to acquire a sea ambulance that will immediately transport those in need of emergency medical assistance in the surrounding islands.

Through his relentless determination, he sought funding support from Prof. Etsuko Kita, Chairperson of SMHF and Mr. Kazunori Johtaki, President of the APMBRJ, thus the sea ambulance was made possible.

The vessel is outfitted with the necessary basic life support equipment such as oxygen, resuscitator, defibrillator and immobilization devices so that person with serious injuries can be first stabilized and transported faster to a hospital.

It is powered by a Mitsubishi 6D16 engine, and equipped with radar, GPS, depth finder, pilot control shifter, radio, siren and emergency lights.

According to Dr. Cunanan, the sea ambulance will be managed by one emergency doctor, one emergency nurse, two health attendants and two boat personnel. “It will be managed and maintained by the CSGH,”  he emphasized.

“We can now lessen impediments in health care delivery due to geographical location and this is the only means to immediately deliver patients from distant island areas to CSGH in need of medical care,” DOH MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during the turnover ceremony.

“For many years, the residents of these islands have been in need of access to health care services. The sea ambulance is the answer and the fast way to deliver and to transport patients to CSGH. It can also provide an effective rescue vessel and can act as a temporary sea clinic that can provide immediate medical care to victims in need of emergency care,” Dir. Janairo emphasized.