BRIDGING THE MEDICAL GAP. The new Super Health Center in San Roque, Northern Samar inaugurated on Feb. 7, 2023. The Department of Health said Monday (March 20) there are 14 more Super Health Centers up for completion in Eastern Visayas this year. (Photo courtesy of Northern Samar provincial government)

TACLOBAN CITY – To boost the government’s universal healthcare program and to decongest hospitals, the Department of Health is pushing for the completion of 14 more Super Health Centers in Eastern Visayas this year.

DOH Eastern Visayas regional information officer Jelyn Lopez-Malibago on Monday said these facilities funded in 2022 are aimed to upgrade public health services in the provinces.

Through these facilities, patients will be able to get a diagnostic exam before being referred to hospitals if needed, answering the gap in the country’s current patient referral system and inequities in healthcare access.

“This is a scaling up of rural health units with more available services. Through this, local communities will now have access to diagnostic facilities, laboratories, X-ray and ultrasound, and others,” Malibago said in a phone interview.

Of the 14 facilities expected to be completed this year, six are located in Leyte, three in Northern Samar, two in Samar, and one each in Biliran, Eastern Samar, and Southern Leyte provinces.

The government has allocated a total of PHP140 million for the equipment and construction of these facilities.

Between PHP6.5 million to PHP10 million budget will be spent for the construction of each center while PHP1.5 million to PHP2 million will be used for the procurement of equipment.

On Feb. 7, the DOH regional office here inaugurated the first Super Health Center in San Roque, Northern Samar.

Facilities are being constructed in San Ricardo in Southern Leyte; Calbiga in Samar; Bato, Kananga, Alangalang and Carigara in Leyte province.

The DOH intends to build a facility in each town nationwide to decongest regional and provincial hospitals.

As per the mandate of the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) to support the Philippine Health Agenda “Boosting Universal Health Care”, the HFEP has committed to providing funds to local government over the coming years for the establishment of health infrastructure and medical equipment. (PNA)