On May 12, 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) 4-B in partnership with the Dr. Damian Reyes Provincial Hospital formally opened the first senior citizens’ ward in the region located at the provincial hospital in Boac, Marinduque to cater for the elderly residents of the province.

“It is our duty to take good care of our elderly population and provide them the utmost care they deserve. They must be given priority and ensure that they will be accomodated conveniently,” Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during his visit to the facility.

Dr. Janairo added that senior citizen patients neet not worry for they will not pay anything because they are already covered by PhilHealth’s No Balance Billing Policy.

“Indigent senior citizens can also avail of free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease upon check-up,” he added.

The senior citizen ward is located at the old administration building of the provincial hospital. It is fully furnished and equipped with air-conditioned with a 10-bed capacity divided between male and female patients.

DOH 4-B provided the hospital beds and bedside tables from the funds of the health facilities enhancement program (HFEP).

The ward construction started in January 2016 through the initiative of the OIC-Chief of hospital, Dr. Ruby Ephraim M. Rubiano, also the head of the Health Facilities Operations and Development Unit of the DOH 4-B. The ward was opened to elderly patients on March 18.

The “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” provides for a senior citizens’ ward in every government hospital for the exclusive use of senior citizens who are in need of hospital confinement by reason of their health conditions.

According to the DOH 4-B consolidated masterlist of senior citizens, as of April 26, 2016, there are currently 24,715 residing in Occidental Mindoro; 52,509 in Oriental Mindoro; 22,618 in Marinduque; 24,120 in Romblon; and 39,058 in Palawan. A total of 176,283 elderly citizens in MIMAROPA, 41,842 of these are listed as indigents.

“We will ensure that geriatic ward will be mandatory in every health facility in the region so that our senior citizens can avail themselves of free health and medical services in any government ¬†hospitals in the provinces,” Janairo emphasized.

By: Glen Ramos, DOH 4-B