TWO House leaders have filed a bill seeking to convert and upgrade the 25-bed capacity Basilan General Hospital (BGH) to a tertiary or Level 3 hospital to strengthen the province’s fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman and Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan filed House Bill (HB) 10382 to make the BGH ready to treat more serious illnesses such as severe cases of COVID-19.
“Oras na para makapaghatid tayo ng moderno, de-kalidad at kumpletong serbisyong pangkalusugan sa ating mga kababayan sa Basilan, lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya kung saan mahalaga ang malapit na pagamutan para sa mga maysakit,” Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“Marami tayong nakakalungkot na karanasan kung saan ang marami sa ating mga kababayan sa Basilan ang binabawian ng buhay habang nasa bangka o lantsa papunta sa mas malaki at mas magandang pagamutan tulad ng Zamboanga City Medical Center,” Hataman lamented.
“Kung ang focus naman ng pamahalaan ay palakasin ang ating mga ospital, isinusulong namin na ma-upgrade na ang BGH para hindi na bumibiyahe pa ang mga taga-Basilan sa malayo para lamang magpagamot, lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya,” he added.
Hataman added that BGH’s 25-bed capacity was supposed to increase to 100 beds as called for by RA 8543 converting the hospital into a tertiary institution that was passed in the 10th Congress in 1998, but somehow this was not implemented until now.
In filing HB 10382, Hataman and Sangcopan seek to convert BGH into the Basilan Medical Center under the DOH and increase its bed capacity from 25 to 500 over a two-year period from the enactment of the measure.
BGH is currently a Level 1 hospital, the most basic of its kind. In the whole of Basilan, there are only six hospitals – four in Isabela City and two in Lamitan City – and all of them Level 1.
“With this measure, we endeavor to bring quality healthcare services closer not just to the Basileños but also to the whole of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) region as part of further strengthening our frontlines against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hataman and Sangcopan said in HB 10382.
Level 1 hospitals have no ICUs, no capacity to care for severe cases of COVID-19, and are only equipped to treat patients who need minor care. Level 2 hospitals have ICUs, while Level 3 hospitals have what Levels 1 and 2 possess, with the addition of high-level specialty intervention such as dialysis treatment.
The bill also seeks to increase the medical manpower complement of BGH according to the bed capacity, consistent with the requirements of modern medical services and state-of-the-science equipment and technology.
“The BMC is envisioned as a premier hospital with modern facilities and state-of-the-science medical equipment and technology providing comprehensive, quality, and affordable service through its highly skilled and competent healthcare professionals and staff,” the two lawmakers said.