In Cordillera, DOH seeks urgent repair of quake-damaged health facilities
BAGUIO CITY — Several health facilities in the Cordillera region damaged by the magnitude 7 earthquake would need to be repaired quickly given the health impact of the calamity and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The damage to public and private health facilities in the region was estimated to reach P30.1 million but the figure could rise after a comprehensive examination of Cordillera hospitals, said Dr. Rio Magpantay, director of DOH in Cordillera, at a press briefing on Wednesday. In Abra province, the epicenter of the July 27 temblor, the provincial hospital was declared “nonfunctional,” while four other health facilities were rendered only “partially functional” by the quake.
Seven of the province’s rural health units (RHU) and two barangay health stations (BHS) were also nonfunctional, while 15 RHU and 13 BHS were partially functional, leaving Abra with a public health infrastructure damage of P11.6 million, Magpantay said.
Mountain Province, which also suffered serious quake damage, reported that three RHU and three BHS were not functional, costing P6.85 million. Kalinga province also reported P4.5 million in damages to its health facilities, with one RHU no longer functioning.
In Ifugao province, all health facilities were functional but some incurred damage estimated at P2.45 million. The neighboring Apayao province pegged the damage at P700,000 for some of its facilities, which all remained operational.Magpantay said he went to Abra on July 28 and witnessed the Abra Provincial Hospital (APH) setting up a temporary treatment area outside the compound after evacuating all its patients.
Tents, medicine and medical equipment were lent out to APH by DOH and teams deployed by various hospitals in northern Luzon, Magpantay said. DOH will start screening Abra residents at temporary shelters regarding their vaccination status to contain a possible spread of COVID-19 or any other infectious ailments at evacuation sites, he stressed.Nurse Karen Lonogan, a DOH Cordillera epidemiologists, noted a gradual increase in the number of serious and critical COVID-19 patients in the region. Cordillera’s active cases rose to 759 as of Tuesday, with 27 of them classified as moderate to critical, she said.
Abra has 56 active cases but most of the active cases were in treatment facilities in Baguio City (316), Benguet province (139) and Mountain Province (112). Dr. Thea Pamela Cajulao, chief of the government-run Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center’s infection prevention control committee, said the hospital alone recorded a leap from 9 patients in June to 85 patients in July. The increase raised Cordillera’s total cases to 120,543 patients since the pandemic broke out in 2020. — VINCENT CABREZA INQ
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