Odiongan, Romblon – Secretary of Health Enrique T. Ona, with Romblon Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, Vice Governor Jose R. Riano and Congressman Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona, alongside regional and provincial officials, unveiled the new buildings at the Romblon Provincial Hospital on April 11, 2014, constructed under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP).

The objective of the HFEP program is to upgrade health facilities and provide training to health professionals, and improve access of people to quality health care services. It also aims to enhance the delivery of basic, essential, and specialized health services in the community.

The hospital was upgraded and modernized under the DOH-HFEP program with an allotment of P138,243,162.27 in 2010 and 2011 for Phase 1 of the project. It included the repair of the emergency room and intensive care unit, and the construction of a two-storey building for patients’ wards, surgery and obstetrics, out-patient department, x-ray and additional offices for hospital staff. In 2012, it received an additional P118,499,301 and P140,000,000 for Phase 2 of the project.

In his inauguration speech, universal health care champion Ona stressed that health is part of the major strategy for poverty reduction and inclusive growth which shall be felt by the poorest of the poor.

‘Government hospitals are for the people and if one does not like to be admitted or confıned in such facilitıes, then there must be something wrong. In short, whether it is a government or private hospital, it must be best for all – the services must be the same, the facilities must be, in terms of diagnosis and curative aspects, must be the same. This concept is affirmed today, that public hospitals are not dilapidated but presentable,’ Ona said.

The health chief was hailed ‘Father of Modern Health Facilities of the Philippines’ by the newly-appointed DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director, Dr. Eduardo Janairo.

The Romblon Provincial Hospital is a Level 1 health facility, with a 75-bed capacity and a 63 percent bed occupancy rate. It is operated by the provincial government of Romblon.

According to hospital records, there were a total of 4,883 admissions in 2013, excluding the newborn. It also administered a total of 378 newborn screening tests, and discharged a total of 4,749 patients (alive). It provided in-patient service to a total of 17,250 patients. It caters to an average of 45 patients daily.

Among its existing ancillary services includes a clinical laboratory for blood services, pharmacy, diagnosis, and x-ray and ultrasound services.

‘We thank the national government through the DOH for supporting our health programs especially facility development which is a vital necessity for a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA) like the archipelagic province of Romblon,’ said Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, a medical doctor himself.

‘One of our top priorities is health as embodied in our program H.E.A.R.T. – health, education and environment, agriculture, revenue generation, tourism, transparency and true public service – all for the people of Romblon towards sustainable and inclusive development,’ added Firmalo.

Lone district of Romblon Representative Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona expressed his happiness that Firmalo managed to encourage private doctors to become consultants for Romblon’s hospitals.

‘We need this kind of facility and we want our people to have the best health care through this facility towards a better life and we will support any measure that will increase the salary rates of our doctors,’ Madrona said.

Madrona assured that the funding for the Phase 3 of the hospital shall be appropriated in the 2015 national budget.

With a population of 289,867, Romblon is one of the provinces under DOH Region IV-B.  According to the region’s 2013 Vital Health Indices, the province has a 19.68% (5,706) live birth and 5.32% (1,541) death rate. The leading causes of mortality in the province are heart diseases, pneumonia, cancer, cerebro vascular accidents, and hypertension.

‘This hospital is the symbol of hope for the people of Romblon – proof of the Aquino administration’s commitment to the universal health care program for all,’ said Hospital Chief Dr. Benedict Anatalio.

Also inaugurated were the Romblon Blood Collection Unit and the Conference Hall.

Other personalities present during the ceremonies were the vice mayors of Romblon, barangay officials of Odiongan town, Provincial Health Officer Ederlina Aguirre, and various health workers in the province.

(Integrated Department of Health and Province of Romblon media releases.)