Bgy health centers vital to primary health care – Cayetano

August 3, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 214 views

INDEPENDENT Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday underscored the critical role barangay health centers play in the success of breastfeeding and other primary healthcare programs, saying these should be delivered immediately and accessible to the constituents at the barangay level.

Cayetano made the statement in his interpellation during Sen. Pia Cayetano’s privilege speech on breastfeeding.

“Yung maliliit na barangay health center, magiging napakalaking tulong po para sa marami nating kababayan na may agaran pangangailangan sa kanilang pangkalusugan problema,” Cayetano said.

He said while he supports President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s push for specialty hospitals around the country, it is equally important to build health centers that will focus on the people’s health and not on their diseases.

“Around 47.2 percent of the barangays in the Philippines do not have health centers. I think it is essential that the DOH [Department of Health] come out with a plan of how to be able to build, staff, and fully equip health centers precisely so that we can build a good foundation for our primary healthcare system and to better take care of our mothers, their children, and senior citizens. Ito (barangay health centers) po yung bahay ng bawat komunidad,” he said.

“Despite all of this earmarking (of funds), hindi po nale-lessen yung gap sa kakulangan ng mga barangay health center. So dumami na po yung mga city hospital, municipal at district hospitals, which is a good thing, pero yung pinka-basic which are the primary health centers ay mukhang napag-iiwanan,” he said.

He said while a big chunk of the budget is given to infrastructure and equipment, it is equally important to train doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.

“Yung mapa-graduate yung mga doktor, ma-train yung mga nurse, at ma-train yung mga personnel sa gagamitin na mga equipment, all of that is also important,” he said.

Cayetano said if 47.2 percent of the country’s barangays have no health center, it would be easy to ask the DOH and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) how many they can build in a year and thus make them accountable.

“Ilan ba ang kaya niyong gawin every year? Kaya niyo bang tapusin yan in three years or in four years? So whether it’s the budget hearing or we call them for a question hour, accountable sila,” he said.

Cayetano has filed several bills in the 19th Congress focusing on Primary Healthcare Programs, such as the Health Center in All Barangays Act (Senate Bill No. 303), Mahal Ko, the Barangay Health Worker Ko Law (SB No. 68), and the Super Health Centers in All Cities and Municipalities Act (SB No. 304).