Healthy citizenry Lazatin’s top priority

“AS I’VE SAID repeatedly…our leadership envisions a healthy citizenry enjoying excellent quality services…fastened in providing free, accessible and borderless public health benefits to every Angeleno and non-residents particularly to the impoverished sectors of our society,” Angeles City Mayor Carmelo ‘Pogi’ G. Lazatin Jr.

RLMMC or commonly called Ospital Ning Angeles. The city-run hospital plays a vital role in the city’s fight against the coronavirus. The first-termer mayor badged the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center (RLMMC) one of his flagship projects and the “centerpiece of his administration.” Prior to his 1st SOCA recently, his administration already procured modern medical equipment and improved RLMMC’s facilities to leap into Level 2 status which is equipped with ICU, pediatric and gynecology services. Php 90 million had been earmarked for RLMMC, including provisions for medicines, medical supplies and salary increase of frontline medical workers and personnel. With a P2 billion budget in the city coffer, the mayor vowed to modernize RLMMC.

Lazatin’s vision for the future of RLMMC may be ambitious, craving to meet the strict international standards on frontline services and processes. It is difficult but not impossible to earn the Certification for Quality Management System of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in parallel with the Ospital Ng Makati (OsMak). The mayor said the hospital is living up to the vision of his father, the late former and congressman Carmelo Tarzan F. Lazatin who sought to improve the delivery of public health service to residents and non-residents of Angeles City. He wanted a premier medical facility with high standards of service and professionalism comparable to private hospitals. More importantly, Angelenos will receive medical treatment for free. The mayor is confident at the soonest possible time RLMMC will harvest the fruits of continued hard work and dedication to serve its constituents by continuously improving the delivery of health care services, procure more modern equipment, add more specialized services and train more doctors so as to treat more patients every day.

Moreover, upon his assumption into office, Lazatin ordered the release of over 3,000 “hostaged” birth certificates from RLLMC withheld from indigent patients since 1991 due to unpaid balances. The certificates were released free of charge. 

***

FEEDBACK: My column entitled, “Did you know classrooms in the Philippines are the most crowded in Asia?” July 18, 2020

Dr. Irene Mae Manabat, director, research and development center, faculty member, Systems Plus College Foundation: “Small class sizes are the most effective, but also expensive. Very timely Brod. In this new normal of learning, small classes will matter a lot, especially that everyone is on the pilot period. It’s like learning math and how to be in an online class at the same time.”

*** 

PUSO Center and Rural health units (RHUs). The Puso Center is a hybrid 3-in-1 clinic which is open to the public at the city hall compound, where hundreds of Angelenos are treated on a daily basis from minor surgery to dental services and anti-rabies vaccinations. Free medicines are also available at the city hall dispensary unit and anyone could also visit the Puso Center for health concerns from 8AM-7PM, monday – thursday. In the latest tally, 1,711 patients were served since February this year. Regular “Operation Tuli” (circumcision) and tooth extraction (bunot) are also conducted at the center.  All services are free of charge. Further, RHUs were strengthened and revitalized by augmenting medical supplies and furnished with brand new dental chairs. He has ordered the improvement of six RHUs and 28 sub-health centers as part of his intensified campaign in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. Initially, health facilities in RHU VI in EPZA Barangay Pulung Cacutud will be improved to level 1 category in order to provide maternal and child health work, communicable disease control work, vital and health statistics work, environmental sanitation work, and medical care work. Lazatin has personally delivered Php 10 million worth of medicines to RHUs aside from the door-to-door delivery of medicines to indigents  in various barangays.

The vulnerable sectors of senior citizens and children. The Lazatin administration had been providing free mandatory annual physical examinations and other medical-related benefits for senior citizens and residents. Some 7,811 senior citizens have availed of the anti-flu vaccination in a collaborative efforts of  the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), City Health Office (CHO), GAD Office, Barangay Affairs and Public Assistance Center (BAPAC), the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, and the Philippine College of Geriatric Medicine. Last year, bed-ridden senior citizens received free medical check-ups and medicines which coincided in the elderly week celebration every October. Meanwhile, a total of 5,391 individuals have already received medicine assistance right in their doorsteps. Free vitamin supplements and deworming vaccines were also administered to more than 4,000 children in the city. The mayor aims to maintain zero polio cases in the city under his watch. He urged parents to get their children vaccinated against polio. Free polio vaccination for children under five years old is scheduled on July 20 – August 02 and September 7 – 20. Newborn Screening Centers were also established to ensure the effective implementation of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention. Toilet bowls were already distributed in Barangays Margot, Sapangbato and other barangays to intensify its zero open defecation program.

Dengue prevention and control. The dengue epidemic in the country did not spare Angeles City which recorded 114 dengue cases reported from January 1 up to August 3, 2019 but no deaths had been reported.The CHO, and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) have conducted fumigation and clearing activities to contain the dengue-carrying mosquitoes and prevent them from further breeding.

COVID19 immediate action, prevention and control. On March 10, 2020 or six days before the Luzon-wide lockdown, Lazatin ordered the closure of borders to foreign nationals from neighboring countries first hit by the CoronaVirus, suspended classes in all levels, directed the 4-day work week, closed non-essential establishments, stopped the operation of a bus firm plying within the city, requested service providers to suspend bills payment, designated RLMMC and CCA as COVID-19 hospitals, ordered city-wide disinfection, declared the city under a state of calamity, provided shuttle services for frontliners, controlled the purchase of essential goods, continued operation of Puso center providing free medical and dental care, launched relief operations to every household and provided Vitamin C to senior citizens.

Lazatin is also considering the usage of a digital contact tracing application to teflon the city and its residents against the coronavirus. Kirk Esconili of Multisyscorp held recently a presentation about StaySafePH which is a digital contact tracing application that will help in health condition reporting and COVID-19 contact tracing. Esconili explained that StaySafePH will also expedite LGUs’ support to constituents who need immediate medical assistance. In addition, the Cterry Enterprise also presented the technological benefits of the thermal camera, thermal temperature scanner and facial recognition system in the battle against the coronavirus which are also being considered to be installed in major public places.

As of July 17, there are 42 total number of confirmed COVID19 cases in the city, 11 active cases in Barangays Sto. Domingo, Balibago, Cutcut, Sapangbato, Margot, Pandan and Pampang, 27 patients were already discharged and recovered, while we recorded four deaths in Barangays Pampang, Pulung Cautud and Margot.

Safety begins at city hall. Prior entering the city hall building every employee, taxpayer and guest have to undergo COVID19 safety protocols such as foot-pressed hand washing, handheld thermal scanning, no face mask-no entry policy, and physical distancing.  Lazatin’s Chief Adviser/ Tactician and concurrent CIAC VP for Operations IC Calaguas and Executive Asst. IV Reina Manuel ensured the safety and protection of all valued taxpayers and clients doing their transactions in city hall and its satellite offices.