Cebu News

Team to look into provincial hospitals

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu provincial government has hired private health consultants to look into possible improvements at district hospitals that figured in controversies over deaths of patients, the most recent of which was the death of an infant at the hospital in Barili town.

Capitol officials said, however, that the creation of the health team is not a knee-jerk reaction.

The team, called the Hospital Cases Management Project, is composed of Capitol consultant Lily Aranas, a retired director of the Department of Health 7, and private doctors Rene Catan and Manuel Villamor.

 Provincial Health Officer Cynthia Genesolango said the system works as an outsider looking into the health services provided by the Capitol.

 The team showed reporters a study that assessed the facilities of the province and how each of these facilities is being improved in terms of infrastructure and supplies.

 In the case of the Bogo City Provincial Hospital, more beds and a power house with generator have been provided.

The project, according to Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino, started in 2013 when the Capitol started to shift from the outsourcing scheme of then governor Gwen Garcia back to the traditional hiring of plantilla and job order doctors for the district hospitals operated by the provincial government.

 Tolentino said the plantilla and job order doctors have given a "sense" or degree of liability to the provincial government compared to those whose services were outsourced, as the latter were answerable only to the firm Capitol did business with.

 Genesolango admitted, however, that when they set the outsourcing scheme aside, the lack of doctors had continued to be a problem in most district hospitals. At present, only four doctors man a district hospital that, ideally, requires eight on shifts.

She said the province is doing its best to offer a more competitive compensation to doctors who are willing to be assigned in towns.


For her part, third district Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is challenging Governor Hilario Davide III to cite cases and name patients at district hospitals who died during her administration because of negligence.

 Garcia was reacting to Davide’s claim that there were also deaths during her time in office but that his camp did not use them for political advantage.

After news broke about the death of the infant in Barili, Davide told reporters that deaths in hospitals are inevitable.

 “He is totally missing the point. While there may be deaths at the hospital, these are supposed to happen only after all efforts have been exerted to save the patient’s life,” Garcia said in a statement.

 Garcia pointed out that under Davide’s administration, a series of deaths occurred due to criminal neglect, inefficiency and medical malpractice.

 “Davide’s cavalier attitude is tragic, especially to our poor Cebuanos who cannot afford private hospitals and are forced to go to the district hospitals. For the information of the governor, unless he still does not know, people go to the hospital to seek treatment, and not to die,” she added.

 Davide had also claimed that his political detractors are taking advantage of the deaths at the hospitals.

 “So what’s the next thing that we will hear from him? Is he now going to say that these deaths were politically motivated?” she said.

 At least six casualties have been attributed to the staff’s negligence at the district hospitals in Minglanilla, Tuburan and Barili. Most of those who died were children.

 Davide has cried foul over his political rival’s alleged taking advantage of the deaths of patients for political propaganda.

 Davide expressed his displeasure over the incidents and assured Capitol is taking action. —/JMO (FREEMAN)

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