EBMC gets P9.5-M in emergency funding for COVID-19 response

EACH SET OF OXYGEN TANK, its contents and regulator sold locally costs nearly P9,000

About P9.5 million in emergency funding will be provided to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) in the remaining months of this year to be spent for supplies and medicines needed in its COVID-19 response.
This was bared last week by Provincial Administrator Lemuel Surtida, who stated that the provincial hospital through its chief, Dr. Vietrez D. Abella, initially requested P13 million in emergency funding so it could purchase ventilators, medical oxygen and other supplies and equipment.
Dr. Abella also requested a P100,000 as petty cash for the procurement of PPEs, oxygen refills and other materials that are urgently needed.
The P9.5-M in funding for EBMC was subsequently approved by the Provincial Disaster Rick Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) headed by Governor Joseph Cua, after getting half of the P15-M Quick Reaction Fund (QRF) and realigning several infrastructure projects.
It is claimed that the provincial government is planning to submit to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan a resolution that would declare a State of Calamity in the province due to the continuing surge of COVID-19 cases.
Once the SP okays the calamity declaration, this would free up additional funding from the Calamity Fund, it was stated.
The EBMC and the district hospitals reached almost full capacity in the last few weeks, severely stretching their resources amidst a rising number of health workers infected with coronavirus or quarantined as close contacts of positive cases.
A health official said the reduction of on-duty health personnel also affected the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, which noticeably slowed down in recent weeks.
Of the almost P65 million in disaster funding for 2022, the PDRRMC has decided to allocate P47 million to the pandemic response of EBMC and the district hospitals, with the council resorting to the shelving of many rehabilitation as well as disaster mitigation projects.
Next year’s allocation would be used for the procurement of an ambulance, medical equipment, supplies and the hiring of additional manpower, especially job-order nurses, Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Hazel Palmes II told the council.
Also in the mix is the completion of an on-going isolation facility at the back of the hospital.
Likewise, the repair of thje EBMC morgue is being urgently pushed, as hospital officials admit that sometimes the COVID-19 dead are not buried within 12 hours as required due to lack of vehicles to bring them to their towns.
There is also the delay in the issuance of the death certificate as destination LGUs require the document, not the temporary certificate issued by the hospital.
EBMC management maintains it cannot issue the death certificate without proof of identity of the deceased.
Dr. Palmes said that municipal health officers have difficulty explaining to next of kin regarding the 12-hour burial window without proof that the victim died of COVID-19.n
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) informing that it already has a P36-M fund for an evacuation center that can be used as a quarantine facility, but there is no available site for the proposed center which needs at least 3,000 square meters of land

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