New gov't hospital in South Cotabato to serve 40% of populationThursday, August 16, 2012 08:40 AM Views : 232 Danilo E. Doguiles
At least 40 percent of the province's population will benefit from the establishment of the Upper Valley Community Hospital (UVCH) in nearby Surallah town, a health official here said.
The new public hospital will provide health care to residents in at least five of the six municipalities in the province's Upper Valley area, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Rogelio Aturdido said during ground breaking ceremony yesterday at the UVCH site in Barangay Dajay.
These towns are Surallah, Banga, Sto. Niño, Lake Sebu, and T'boli. The sixth upper valley municipality, Norala, was not included among the hospital's primary coverage because it has a district hospital.
Based on the 2007 census, these five municipalities have a population of 314,278 or 40.96 percent of the 767,245 population of South Cotabato, excluding General Santos City.
Dr. Aturdido said, a government hospital in the area would address the problem of congestion at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital (SCPH).
"Statistics on patient admission, hospital occupancy rate, and five-year average flow of patients at the SCPH reveals that 27% of admitted patients come from the Upper Valley," he said.
He added that the Integrated Provincial Health Office pushed for the construction of the UVCH in line with the provincial governments advocacy to "provide access to quality health service and affordable hospital care especially to our less fortunate brethren or the marginalized sector."
"But how can we provide quality health care if our only level 4 hospital, the SCPH, with an authorized bed capacity of 200 is packed with 200 to 300 patients per day? Equality of patient care, congestion of patients at the SCPH, occupancy of the Lake Sebu Municipal Hospital, and strategic location of Surallah as entry and exit point of Lake Sebu and T'boli, and being more accessible to other municipalities in the Upper Valley were the main reasons why they proposed that the UVCH be built in Surallah," he said.
Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. pointed out that the project is "a dream come true made possible by the strong partnership and cooperation between the government and the private sector."
To kick off the establishment of the project, the provincial government received several supports, including a 4.8-ha lot from the Surallah local government unit, led by Mayor Romulo Solivio Sr, P28 million from the Department of Health through its Health Facilities Enhancement Program, and P25 million from the San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
SMC's donation will fund the construction of the front building that will house the administrative offices, emergency room, outpatient and diagnostic department, and laboratory.
The contractor for this building told Aturdido that they are ready to begin the construction works in days.
"The P28-million fund from DOH will build the back portion of the hospital where the Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEMONC) unit composed of the operating room, the delivery room, a neonatal unit and general wards and rooms," he said.
Contractor for the DOH side of the project only needs to present their plan in a pre-construction conference with the provincial engineering office.
The UVCH is expected to begin operation initially as a maternity hospital in the first semester of 2013.
Aturdido explained the hospital has a modern Mediterranean design. Its main building is pentagon shaped, each side representing a municipality in the Upper Valley area.