Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has proposed the training of more liver transplantation medical personnel in the country to address the high cost of such highly specialized medical procedures.
During a discussion he organized with key government officials and private healthcare practitioners on Wednesday, the Senator encouraged them to provide more training to healthcare professionals and improve the coordination among concerned health agencies and private health institutions to address the issue.
In the meeting with officials of the Department of Health (DoH); Department of Foreign Affairs; the Presidential Management Staff; officers from different hospitals, including The Medical City Hospital, Makati Medical Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute; and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Go learned that the lack of highly specialized medical equipment and expensive medicines are other main reasons contributing to the high cost of liver transplant procedure in the country.
Go recalled patients who were left with no choice but to obtain treatment abroad such as India where liver transplantation surgery is cheaper.
“Sina baby Eren at Dionifer, tinulungan pa namin ng Pangulo na madala sa India para mapagamot ang sakit nilang biliary atresia. Sa kasamaang palad, nagkaroon ng kumplikasyon si baby Eren kaya hindi na-survive ang operasyon,” Go said in the meeting.
Biliary atresia is a rare condition where the bile duct is blocked, thus damaging the liver. Once the liver fails, a transplant is necessary. The disease only affects infants.
“Kung mayroon sana tayo dito sa Pilipinas na mga kailangang equipment, mas maraming well-trained specialists at mas murang operasyon, hindi na sana kailangan magpagamot pa sa ibang bansa ang mga pasyenteng ito,” Go said.
“Gusto namin, kasama ang ating doctors, na ipa-train sila. Susuporta ang iba’t ibang government agencies,” Go said as he reiterated his call for government to invest in enhancing the capabilities of healthcare professionals as part of the efforts in improving the quality of the country’s healthcare services.
Go also expressed his desire to change the mindset of some patients about local doctors and the quality of liver transplant procedure in the country.
“Nais natin na ang mga pasyente ay magtiwala po sa kakayahan ng ating mga doktor. Gusto natin sabihin sa kanila na hindi na nila kailangan pumunta ng ibang bansa para sa liver transplant. Magtiwala sila sa ating local doctors,” he said.
“’Yun po ang objective natin dito, as soon as possible sana. Sana ay maging at par tayo sa ibang bansa, at mag-gain ng trust ang parents ng mga pasyente sa kakayahan ng ating doctors dito,” Go added.
Another issue raised during the meeting is the need to streamline the assistance provided by government agencies and non-government organizations and foundations to patients in need.
Known to be at the forefront of promoting seamless and efficient delivery of government services to Filipinos, Go has been instrumental in the conceptualization of the government’s Malasakit Center program.
Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops for medical financial assistance from different government agencies, such as the DoH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. There are 41 Malasakit Centers currently in operation across the country.
“Prayoridad ko ang kalusugan ng mga tao dahil ito ang madalas na hinihingi na tulong sa gobyerno ng mga ordinaryong Pilipino. Kaya nangako po ako sa sarili ko na tutulungan ko ang Duterte administration upang lubusang matugunan ang mga ganitong sitwasyon,” Go said in his recent interviews.
To address these concerns, the Senator filed last month several proposed measures including the institutionalization of the Malasakit Center program, the improvement of Philippine nursing education, expanding the coverage of the Mandatory Basic Immunization Program, and the increase of the salary of public health care professionals.
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