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Risa visits Ozamis City, laments rural health situation

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Administration senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros used her Ozamis City trip on Monday to highlight the need for more funds to improve the health situation in rural areas, where some people died without seeing doctors that can treat their medical issues.

Hontiveros, a former Akbayan representative, called for the establishment of “super health clinics” in barangays, which provide primary care services, in-patient facilities, laboratory units, birthing facility and are serviced by physicians.

“Ang mahirap sa Maynila at ang mahirap sa probinsya, hindi pantay pag parehong tamaan ng sakit. Yung nanay na nasa maliit na isla, pag nagkakomplikasyon sa panganganak, kailangan tumawid dagat para makarating ng sentro. Sa bangka pa lang, namatay na.” Hontiveros said.

She said that a rural health strategy is necessary to address the specific needs of those in the countryside, and an important start is securing health infrastructure.

“Sa higit na 42,000 na barangay sa bansa, kalahati lang nito ang mga barangay health station, o mga 20,000. Ang ibig sabihin nito ay napakarami pang barangay ang walang agarang takbuhan para sa mga pangangailangang medikal ng mga residente,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said that the government’s year-to-date sin tax collection for 2015 was at P123.641 billion, a significant increase from the P112.81 billion booked for the whole of 2014.

“The revenues from the sin taxes can be used to make these super health centers functional and sustainable, until such a time that local governments can shoulder the costs of running them,” she said.

The Health Facilities Enhancement Program, supposed to be funded under the Sin Tax, targeted the construction of 2,379 health facilities, 1,661 barangay health stations, and 476 rural health units in 2015.