TAGUM, Davao del Norte – The opening of the cancer center of the Davao Regional Hospital
here has signalled the readiness of the government hospital to accommodate cancer patients in its state-of-the-art facility.
Assistant Secretary Romulo A. Busuego, hospital chief, said the cancer center, or the Nuclear and Radiotherapy Center, was built on the concept of providing better a better facility to people not only of the Davao Region, but also of the entire Mindanao.
“We in the department hope that with this cancer center, our people will realize that we in Mindanao can avail of better healthcare services from government,” Busuego said.
He added there is a need for the people of Mindanao to realize that they have government facilities which are either at par or even better than those run by private companies. “The need to inform them is necessary for them to avail of services we are offering,” he said.
The good thing about the center, said Carlito U. Pillerin, is that indigent patients do not need to worry about expenses in availing of the services of the center for as long as they are members of the government-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
“We already computed that (expenses). They must now become Philhealth members so they can avail of services without worrying where to get the money,” said Pillerin, pointing out that the center can serve about 40 patients a day.
The center is only one of the few medical facilities in the country, especially in government, that have a digital linear accelerator, a state-of-the-art facility used to control the spread of the cancer to healthy tissues. The accelerator is a precise instrument that it only hits the affected area without damaging the health part of the body.
The hospital was able to acquire the digital linear accelerator, a pricey facility at P134 million, when the available fund to construct the center was just at P200 million. Although the construction of the building had a budget of P120 million, Pillerin said the hospital only used P23 million to build it even when it is a “bunker” as its wall has a thickness of about 1.5 meters, a requirement for cancer facilities.
On the center opening on January 8, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, in a speech read for him by Health Secretary Enrique Ona, said the center is an indication that the government is looking at expanding health services especially for the indigents.
Magpapalawak ito sa serbisyong medikal, hindi lamang mula sa Davao, kundi maging sa buong Mindanao (this will expand the medical services, not only for Davao, but for the entire Mindanao),” Mr. Aquino said as he pointed out that based on the statistics from the health department, there are about 200,000 Filipinos suffering from the disease every year.
Pillerin said the center is not only for those who cannot afford to pay the services. “Everyone is welcome here. The income that the center will earn will help us sustain its operations,” he added.
He said the hospital still needs about P200 million to complete the facilities needed in the center.