House seeks creation of ENT Center

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THE House committee on health is set to tackle a proposal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to create a medical center that will provide affordable treatment for ear, nose, throat, head and neck (ENTHN) disorders.

House Bill (HB) 6720 establishing the Philippine ENT Center (PEC) will be in the agenda of the committee when Congress resumes session next week.

“The establishment and maintenance of the Philippine ENT Center (PEC) will focus on the ENT diseases to primarily benefit persons suffering from ENTHN diseases and those who are unable to secure the necessary medical treatment because of the high cost of specialized medical services,” the Speaker said.

Under HB 6720, the number of beds in PEC allocated for indigent patients shall not be less than 40 percent of the total number of hospital beds.

The establishment of the PEC is timely since the incidence of ENTHN diseases in the country has become more prevalent, affecting the quality of life of most Filipinos, according to Alvarez.

“Respiratory tract infections which include colds, sinusitis, nasopharyngitis, and laryngitis are among the leading causes of morbidity in the country,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also said a study showed more than a million Filipinos were estimated to have hearing impairment and a ratio of one to two per 1,000 live births were born with cleft lip or left palate.

“Despite the high prevalence rate of ENTHN diseases and their tremendous effect on health, these conditions have not been given enough attention and priority,” Alvarez said.

The Speaker said ENTHN diseases not only affect the productivity and performance of a person but also cause permanent physical disabilities and deformities.

Under HB 6720, the PEC shall be under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH) and administered by a board of trustees (Board) composed of seven members to be appointed by the President of the Philippines upon the recommendation of the DOH secretary.

In addition to their general powers of administration, the Board shall formulate and adopt the by-laws, rules and regulations, policies, guidelines and procedures consistent with law and the provisions of the bill to govern the administration and operations of the PEC.

Moreover, the Board shall formulate and develop programs for the prevention, control and treatment of ENTHN disease and adopt measures which are necessary to carry out the provisions of the bill.

The Board shall enter into such agreements and arrangements with other medical institutions, domestic or foreign, as may be necessary in attaining the purpose and objectives of the PEC.

The Board shall also receive in trust legacies, gifts and donations of real or personal property of all kinds and to administer the same for the benefit of the PEC, in accordance with the directions and instructions of the donor, and in default thereof, in such a manner as in its discretion the Board may determine.

Included in the functions and powers of the Board is to invite foreign ENTHN specialists and similar experts in the various medical fields to train the personnel of the PEC or send personnel to research or medical institutes or universities for advance training or observation or to attend international or regional conventions, conferences, congresses and seminar as the Board may deem necessary to accomplish the purposes and objectives of the PEC.

The measure stipulates that P300 million shall be appropriated for the initial operation and maintenance of the PEC. The funding shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

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