Bohol’s indigent sick to get modern P2-B hospital
TAGBILARAN CITY—When farmer Hilda Baguio, who lives in Bilar town in Bohol province, brought her feverish 10-year-old daughter Annie Fe to Congressman Simeon G. Toribio Memorial Hospital in the neighboring town of Carmen, they were told to go instead to a hospital in Tagbilaran City, at least 59 kilometers away.
It was at Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in the capital that the girl was confirmed to be positive for dengue. But she could not be admitted because all 225 beds were occupied.
Baguio, who earns only P100 a day from farming, could not afford to take Annie Fe to a private hospital so she insisted that her daughter remain at the government hospital. The girl ended up lying on a stretcher in a corridor like other patients, although some lucky ones shared beds in the obstetrics ward.
“We have no choice because private hospitals are too expensive,” Baguio said.
GCGMH, which caters to mostly poor patients, had long suffered from congestion. Like many government hospitals in the country, it can hardly
address the need for medical services of Bohol’s growing population.
Catalina Erano, head of the provincial government’s human resource management office, said the hospital was currently staffed by 760 personnel.
From 2014 to 2015, the number of patients rose by 142 percent, from 95,095 to 103,667.
According to Dr. Jose Teofilo Arcay, hospital chief, an average of 303 patients seek confinement every day, but just a little more than half, or 56 percent, are admitted.
The situation was compounded in October 2013, when a magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck the province and damaged other hospitals.
The patients’ woes may be ending soon, though.
President Duterte has approved a modernization program for GCGMH with a budget of P2.22 billion, along with eight other projects endorsed by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom). The projects are worth at least P171 billion.
Double the beds
Under the two-year plan, the Tagbilaran hospital will be transferred to Barangay Malayo Norte, Cortes town, or 11 kilometers away and only a kilometer from the Cortes municipal hall. The number of beds will be more than doubled to 500.
Gov. Edgar Chatto said the provincial government donated five hectares of land for the hospital building and other medical facilities.
What had prompted local officials to build the Bohol Provincial Hospital, the forerunner of the GCGMH, was a smallpox and cholera epidemic, which killed thousands of people throughout the country in the early 1900s, The facility opened on Oct. 18, 1929, with eight beds and a two-classroom building. In 1984, it was renamed Gov.Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital.
The new hospital will have spacious buildings with complete and modern diagnostics equipment.
As designed. it will have a three-story surgery building, a six-story obstetrics-gynecology section, a three-story administration building, a three-story outpatient department, a three-story psychiatric building, a two-story command center building and other support structures. It will be able to withstand earthquakes.
Meanwhile, a five-story building will rise behind the present hospital while the new one is being built. “There is an expansion [project] here at the hospital in the meantime to address overpopulation,” Arcay said.
Chatto said the new hospital would raise health care standards, provide services to Boholanos and attract medical tourists.
This would complement efforts to attract foreign tourists seeking better healthcare overseas and in anticipation of the economic and development surge that the new airport being built in Panglao would bring.