Cebu News

City Hall starts free medicine program

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City government has started processing the new health program which will provide free medicines to qualified residents. This is in compliance to the executive order issued by Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

The health program will be piloted in Barangays Zapatera and Tisa. The city government has started getting the list of qualified residents in the said barangays.

The health program has started July 1 immediately after Osmeña issued an executive order creating the Long-Life Medical Assistance Program.

Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, who was designated as deputy mayor on health services, said the city has piloted one barangay in the north and another one in the south to test the system before it will be implemented in all 80 barangays of the city.

"We want to perfect the system first before launching it to the other 78 barangays of the city," Delos Santos told THE FREEMAN.

De los Santos said the thrust of the new administration is to perfect the new system before implementing it fully. But she said the city will be giving free medicines once there is the complete list of the qualified residents.

In an executive order, Osmeña said there is a need to implement a medical program which will improve the population health and delay the progression and exacerbation of illnesses.

"Maintaining a healthy citizenry through preventive measures will provide high value to society since lives are improved at a relatively low cost. Health promotion and disease prevention measures will eventually save the city government money as oppose to the cost of medical treatments that the city will stand to be burdened by an ailing citizenry," the executive order reads.

Osmeña said the Long-Life Medical Assistance Program is the city's health promotion program aiming to provide maintenance medicines for illnesses including but not limited to hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

Medicines should be delivered on a daily basis to qualified residents of the city.

Section 3 of the executive order provides that the barangays in partnership with the City Health Department will be the implementing agency of the program.

The barangays are tasked to identify qualified residents who may avail of the health program while the City Health Department will facilitate the distribution of the maintenance medicines to respective residences of the beneficiaries.

A resident of the city can avail of the free health program once he can secure a certification from the barangay attesting the fact of residency. Also, the resident should secure a prescription or certification from the City Health Department or the Cebu City Medical Center providing for the maintenance medicines required by the beneficiary.

As to the budget of the health program, Osmeña said it will be "charged against available current appropriations."

On his Facebook Account, Osmeña said the city government can save money on this health program.

"This program will actually SAVE the city money. How? By making sure people get the maintenance medicines they need, they become less likely to get sick, which in turn lowers our public hospital costs. Everybody wins," he said.   (FREEMAN)

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