THE Department of Health (DOH)- CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) has been strengthening its health system by establishing more health facilities and developing and upgrading existing hospitals including competencies of health care workers in the region not only to fight the current COVID-19 virus but also to fight diseases beyond the present pandemic.
Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo, DOH regional director, stressed that as part of the “new normal,” a health system must be ready to fight any epidemic that may occur such as the present COVID-19 pandemic or any other diseases that may endanger the health of the community.
“We now have two regional hospitals that can serve people from various municipalities of the region, the Batangas Medical Center in Batangas and the Southern Tagalog Regional Hospital in Cavite, two specimen testing laboratories in the region at the Lucena United Doctors General Hospital in Quezon and the De La Salle Medical Health and Sciences Institute in Cavite,” he said.
Janairo added that the regional office is utilizing other health facilities in other provinces to further improve their health services.
CALABARZON has a population of about 15 million people.
“We have to safeguard and protect the health and welfare of these people and at the same time, we want the region to be independent from Metro Manila in terms of medical services. This is also the best way to decongest hospitals in NCR because once we have a level 2 or 3 hospital in every province, residents need not go to Manila to get their treatment,” the DOH official said.
He added that the regional office is in the process of procuring GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 virus testing to be distributed in identified health facilities in various provinces. These machines are actually initially intended to be used for testing tuberculosis. He explained that the GeneXpert analyzes TB by detecting the presence of TB bacteria, as well as testing for resistance to the drug Rifampicin.
Janairo also bared plans for a disease testing laboratory which is now in the process of development and will be established in one of the provinces.
“Laboratory medicine is an essential part of public health and it is a must for the detection of disease in individuals and populations. We can prevent the spread of any disease, from its early detection and diagnosis to individualized treatment plans. It is the key to improving healthcare quality and avoiding long-term health costs. We need to plan beyond the COVID pandemic. We have to know how to protect ourselves and our communities. We need to have a successful response capability system and a capable emergency management structure that is in place and ready to use in case of any biological and other natural health hazards that may occur,” he said.