The first provincial government hospital Family Planning Training Center (FPTC) in the country was launched on Friday, February 2, in Negros Occidental that has a “very high” teenage pregnancy rate.
The launching of the FPTC that will be located at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH) in Silay City was held along with the unveiling of the Negros Occidental Universal Health Care (UHC) Priorities for 2024 at the Social Hall of the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City.
Dr. Mary Ann Maestral, TLJPH chief, said there is a very high incidence of teenage pregnancies in Negros Occidental. The FPTC can help address that and assist young mothers, she said.
If an LGU wants its staff to undergo training at the FPTC they can contact the Provincial Health Office, she said.
Dr. Girlie Pinongan, Provincial Health Officer, said in 2022 of the 39,411 pregnant mothers in Negros Occidental 6,026 were teenagers.
In 2023 of the 35,628 pregnant women in the province, 5,271 were teenagers, she added.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said the FPTC will benefit Negros Occidental local government units who will be able to send their personnel for family planning training.
Education is important to create awareness, especially among the young, he said.
Also present at the launching was Dr. Laurentiu Stan of the USAID that is assisting the province in its UHC implementation and FPTC.
Negros Occidental is one of 32 local government units nationwide being assisted by the USAID because “we wanted to go where we knew that the leadership was committed to change”, Stan said.
Lacson said the presence of Stan signifies the commitment of USAID to help Negros Occidental. The agency also helps Negros Occidental in its education and water programs, the governor pointed out.
Lacson, in his speech, said the UHC Act aims to provide equitable and accessible healthcare to all Filipinos.
“Our vision of providing a province-wide health system, particularly for the less privileged, relies on the continuous improvement of healthcare delivery, policies, resources, and infrastructure,” he said.
Even before the implementation of UHC, the provincial government initiated the process of upgrading the TLJPH into a Level 3 hospital and the Cadiz District Hospital, Valladolid District Hospital, and Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital into Level 2 hospitals, Lacson said.
“These were made strategically based on their location and the population they will serve within their catchment area. This ensures the accessibility and availability of adequate services, facilities, doctors, and medical staff to our constituents,” he said.
“We will continue to provide and source funds to offer financial protection to all our constituents through initiatives such as No Balance Billing, Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP), and the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program (NOCHP). Patients in our hospitals will incur minimal or no bills to pay,“ Lacson said.
The provincial government is also on track to achieve its goal of establishing four dialysis centers, he said.
Currently, a 15-bed Dialysis Center is operational at the TLJPH, while construction for another at the Cadiz Distrrict Hospital has been completed and is awaiting equipment installation, he said.
Plans for two additional dialysis centers at the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital and Valladolid District Hospital are now ready for budgeting and procurement, he said, pointing out that soon patients will not need to travel far to access treatment.
The provincial government will also develop and capacitate both new and existing primary care providers throughout the province.
“The presence of doctors in barangays, RHUs, nurses, midwives, and BHWs must be increased to handle non-complicated cases and provide immediate relief at the local level. They will also play a significant role in disease prevention and early detection,” Lacson said.
The provincial government will also continue to provide scholarships for medical, nursing, and midwifery students and require them return service at its hospitals or primary care providers, he added.
“The goal is a future in which health is a right, not a privilege, and where everyone, regardless of circumstance, has access to the treatment they need,” Lacson stressed.*