ACCESSIBLE HEALTH SERVICES. Iloilo 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas (left) joins Senator Christopher Lawrence Go (2nd from left) during the groundbreaking ceremony of a super health center in Barotac Viejo on Wednesday (June 7, 2023). Tupas said the six super health centers to be constructed in his district would benefit residents living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – Health services will be more accessible to residents of geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) with six super health centers soon to rise in identified municipalities in Iloilo province's 5th District.

"We need the super health centers because we have no DOH-managed (Department of Health) hospitals in the 5th District. We are the farthest district from the city and (have) the most geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas," Iloilo 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas said in an interview on the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of the super health center in Barotac Viejo on Wednesday.

He said he was one of those who pushed for the establishment of super health centers in the House of Representatives.

In addition to the center that will be constructed in Barotac Viejo, three others will be built in the municipalities of Concepcion, Lemery, and Estancia this year with a total funding of PHP48 million under the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) of the DOH.

Last year, PHP23 million was allotted for the two similar facilities in the municipalities of Carles and Sara.

Tupas said a little more than half of the population of Carles and Concepcion are situated on the island.

Lemery and Sara have sitios and barangays in remote areas, he added.

Tupas said apart from super health centers, he is also pushing for the establishment of a Level 2 hospital that is managed by the DOH.

There are district hospitals in the 5th District but they still have to bring their patients to the city where Level 2 or Level 3 hospitals are situated.

"Thirty percent of our residents are living on the island. With this, they need not travel for a half day or one day going to the city, " he said.

Tupas added that an advantage of a DOH-managed hospital is the presence of a Malasakit Center.

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, in a separate interview after the groundbreaking ceremony, said 21 super health centers would be established in Iloilo province offering such services as birthing, dental, laboratory, ultrasound, and vaccination.

The centers will be turned over to LGUs where they can have them expanded by providing additional medical equipment.

Meanwhile, four Malasakit Centers are already operational in Iloilo, he said.

The one-stop shop center is available at the Western Visayas Medical Center, West Visayas State University Medical Center, Don Jose Monfort Medical Center, and the Western Visayas Sanitarium. (PNA)