COTABATO CITY – A lawmaker of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BTA-BARMM) has filed separate bills to upgrade three hospitals in the region and bolster the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
BTA Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said Thursday that he has introduced bills calling for upgrading of the Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital (DHSH) in Bongao Tawi-Tawi; and also the Tamparan District Hospital and Balindong Municipal Hospital, both in Lanao del Sur.
“Upgrading the hospitals’ bed capacity would also entail an increase of their limited budget for its operations,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan, a medical doctor by profession, said he introduced BTA Bill No. 100, or “Datu Halun Sakilan Memorial Hospital (DHSMH) Upgrade Act of 2021,” to increase the hospital’s bed capacity to 100.
Based on the Ministry of Health-BARMM annual hospital statistical report, the DHSMH bed occupancy reached 237 percent in 2019, way above its current 25-bed capacity load. Dipatuan’s colleagues, MPs Amilbahar Mawallil, Al-Syed Ali, and Eddie Alih, also filed a similar bill that would upgrade the hospital’s healthcare services and facilities as well as further increase its bed capacity and medical personnel.
“In Tawi-Tawi, municipalities are scattered over the islands, the only way for most of the population to get to the hospital in Bongao is via boat,” Dipatuan said.
He added that travel by boat takes 16 hours and flight remains an economical option to travel to the nearest Level 2 medical facility in Zamboanga City.
Last year, the BARMM’s Ministry of Public Works also facilitated the establishment of a 100-bed facility isolation center at the DHSMH compound for Covid-19 patients. This facility can cater to 100 virus patients.
Dipatuan also filed Parliament Bill No. 99 that seeks to convert the Tamparan District Hospital (TDH) into a provincial hospital and upgrade its level bed capacity, personnel, and facilities.
In his explanatory note, Dipatuan said that TDH is presently a Level I hospital with a 100-bed capacity. In the last five years, the TDH has been catering to not less than 4,000 patients every year from the different municipalities of LDS, such as Taraka, Mulondo, Maguing, Lumba-Bayabao, Masui, Poonabayabao, Lumbayanague, and Butig.
“With the increasing population of the province, and TDH being the most accessible hospital and strategically located to cater the medical needs of the people of the province, it is appropriate to convert it into a provincial hospital,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan’s BTA Bill No. 102 is also calling for the upgrade of the Level I Balindong Municipal Hospital (BMH) with a 10-bed capacity into a Level II district hospital with a 50-bed capability.
Dipatuan said the BMH was required to render services beyond its expected capacity considering the high discrepancy between its authorized bed capacity and bed occupancy rate.
“Its bed occupancy rate in 2019 reached about 207 percent higher than its authorized bed capacity,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan is hoping his bills will get the green light while the region is in the midst of the fight against the pandemic.
The bills also call for the improvement of hospital buildings, medical and office equipment, and manpower resources. (PNA)