Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. is calling on the Bacolod city government to build makeshift hospitals and negative-pressurized isolation facility that are accredited by the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth).
Gamboa made the call Monday after the case of a COVID-19 patient who died from cardiac arrest in his home after no hospital would admit him.
He said the funds can be taken from the P800 million originally set aside to build an “impractical and unserviceable” Bacolod Coliseum.
“The Bacolod City Government is unresponsive of its people’s cry for help. Hospitals now are refusing admission because their isolation facilities are overwhelmed, health workers are exhausted or afraid therefore they resign,” he said.
Gamboa said that Bacolod now has almost 600 confirmed positive cases resulting from the mass testing conducted last week.
“How will the City respond to this? Mass testing is ineffective in the reduction of cases without an adequate and clinically managed isolation facilities to accommodate those found confirmed positive.”
Gamboa stressed that the solution is to build adequate makeshift hospitals that will unload hospitals and admit critical to severe patients only.
“Our hospitals now are overwhelmed with patients from mild to moderate leaving severe and critical patients behind. Funds intended for the Coliseum or other infrastructure projects which are unnecessary at this time can be diverted to finance these projects.”
He likewise cited that as early as April 26, 2020, the city was in receipt of a position letter from the Philippine College of Physicians Negros Occidental Chapter asking for a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, financial aid for hemodialysis centers, adequate supply of hospital beds, and other essential equipment.
“The city can also decide to do emergency hiring of trained health workers and doctors to serve in these makeshift facilities but back them with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), appropriate salary schemes and isolation dormitories for their board and lodging.”
He cited the case of Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental which was able to construct the proposed COVID isolation facility in two months.
“Do we have the money? Oh yes! The Coliseum budget of ₱ 800 million can be realigned. I envy the COVID-19 free City of Dumaguete that constructed in 60 days, a ₱ 46 million 34-negative pressurized room fully equip concrete isolation facility from their ₱ 98 million Bayanihan Act fund. They are quite transparent about it!”
Gamboa also explained that with all the money the City of Bacolod has, a negative pressurized room concrete facility accredited by DOH and PhilHealth can be built to support hospitals with severe cases and with such type of a safe facility, probability of health worker resignation can be significantly reduced.
In the meantime, he also stressed, “It is high time for the government to start procuring supplies of medicines such as Remdesivir and other COVID-19 related medicines recommended by the DOH-WHO for various types of cases from mild to moderate patients and relevant medicines for self-medication in homes with prescription by a specialist.”
(Dolly Yasa via The Daily Guardian (TDG), photo by TDG)