LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) - As the Philippines combats the escalating coronavirus threat, the Department of Health's Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) started handing over ambulances to local government units (LGUs) and hospitals in Bicol region.
"Fourteen units of land ambulances were already turned over last week," Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH-CHD regional director, said.
The latest to receive the medically equipped vehicle-a sea ambulance-- was the island town of Rapu-Rapu in Albay.
The provincial breakdown of the ambulances is as follows: Camarines Sur-26; Albay -18; Sorsogon- eight; Catanduanes-6; and Camarines Norte-3.
Last year, the DOH-CHD handed over five sea ambulances to the island province of Masbate.
"The DOH-CHD hopes that with the distribution of sea and land ambulances, impediments in health care delivery due to geographical location will be lessened, and that there will be an immediate delivery of patients in need of medical attention and response," Vera said.
Each fully-equipped ambulance was acquired for P2.3 million which was under the agency's approved 2019 budget for the Regional Health Facilities Enhancement Program.
Every unit has an automatic external defibrillator, nebulizer, portable suction machine, examining light, aneroid sphygmomanometer, folding stretcher, scoop stretcher, heavy duty stethoscope, and oxygen cylinder, among others.
"The DOH-CHD ensures that the land ambulance is indeed needed by the LGU and its health facility. There will be no oversupply in consideration of the LGUs' existing vehicle inventory," Vera added.
Moreover, all LGU recipients, as agreed with the DOH-CHD, will provide at least two medical or paramedical workers who will be available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to man the ambulance for medical emergency.
"The recipients must ensure that all medical equipment will be utilized and properly maintained by allocating funds for its maintenance and operations," Vera said.
"All disposable medical supplies shall be regularly replenished," he said. "Emergency medical drills must also be done regularly to ensure that all assigned personnel, equipment, supplies and the overall functionality of the land ambulance are on peak capacities and conditions." (PIA-5/DOH-CHD)