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Tulfo bats for hike in NCH budget
SENATOR Raffy Tulfo pushed for the increase of the budget of the National Children’s Hospital (NCH), which is a health facility for children from the poorest families dealing with the most serious pediatric cases that are not receiving enough support from the government.
In a delivered privilege speech on Monday, Nov. 21, Tulfo divulged the appalling and heartbreaking situation in the hospital, which adversely affects its patients, such as its lack of manpower, below-industry-standard facilities, and outdated or lacking equipment.
He also urged the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and his esteemed colleagues to personally visit the hospital to witness its struggles firsthand.
“Mr. President, the National Children’s Hospital, a health facility for the poorest and weakest, is in dire need of our help. Kung paano naghihingalo ang mga pasyente doon, gayun din ang paghihingalo ng pasilidad at sitwasyon ng National Children’s Hospital,” he said.
“I invite you to visit this hospital para makita niyo kung gaano kalunos-lunos ang kalagayan ng mga pasyente doon. Nang makausap ko sila, wala daw pong bumibisita sa kanila na mga opisyal ng gobyerno. There is something wrong in the way they are treated and how the government handles them. They are not getting the help they must receive,” he added.
To remedy the dire situation, the senator moved to augment the NCH budget by sourcing it from underperforming government agencies.
Tulfo shared how the situation in NCH has not improved through the years and in fact, has even gotten worse. He visited this back then for a Christmas treat celebration for the children and their parents and made a donation.
In his recent visit to said hospital, Tulfo shared that the suffering of children and the sadness and sorrow of parents accompanying them were visibly apparent on their faces as they were lined up in the hospital’s cramped, hot and humid hallway, which only compounded to their sufferings.
Citing one heartbreaking case, Tulfo recalled seeing a six-year-old boy with stage 4 liver cancer having difficulty breathing even if he already had an oxygen tank assisting him. He was told that the patient was just waiting for his time to go.
Further discussing the problems hounding the hospital due to lack of budget, Tulfo said that NCH could not handle the number of patients that comes to them. He said there is a three-year waiting time for some of the therapies being offered to the patients, including PT (Physical therapy), OT (Occupational therapy), and Speech therapy.
Tulfo said the hospital’s building, meanwhile, is dilapidated and its sorry state cannot properly accommodate children. He described: “May basag na bintana at plywood ang ipinangtatakip dito.
There are not enough electric fans and no proper ventilation, and the windows have to be opened for fresh air. Sinabitan ng manipis na kurtina ang bintana marahil upang ‘di makapasok ang mga lamok at alikabok!”
Furthermore, the senator from Isabela and Davao shared that he noticed water stains on the hospital’s ceiling, a sign of a water leak in the roofs from the last rainfall.
Tulfo likewise recalled that the hospital’s therapy rooms are very small, which could not adequately accommodate children, thereby prompting doctors to instruct parents to just continue the therapy at home instead of having it two to three times a week at the hospital.
Tulfo made his privilege speech in time for National Children’s Month, which is celebrated every November by virtue of Republic Act No. 10661.