RESIDENTS of Cagayan de Oro City's eastern mountain barangays can expect fast and better health services starting next year.
A P50-million, three-storey hospital is set to rise in Barangay Lumbia in 2018, which will serve as a satellite hospital of the JR Borja General Hospital, otherwise known as the City Hospital.
City officials led the groundbreaking ceremony of the 25-bed capacity hospital, expected to rise late next year.
Dr. William Bernardo, officer-in-charge of the City Health Insurance Office (CHIO), said the city chose Lumbia as it serves as the catchment area of the hinterland barangays.
"We are careful that we don't build a white elephant establishment, but a very useful hospital for the patients. So initially, based on ratio proportion of the Department of Health, 1 bed per 1,000 residents, that's why here in Lumbia, we will start with 25 beds," he said.
Bernardo clarified that the hospital's category is still infirmary, and can only take in patients with "basic diseases".
The hospital will still not cover surgical operations, so patients that require surgery, will have to be referred to the city hospital in barangay Carmen.
The infirmary hospital will stand in a 1-hectare lot, beside the Boystown Orphanage.
Dr. Ramon Nery, chief of the city hospital, said the new hospital will serve the curative needs of the highlands and nearby places in Bukidnon.
It will also decongest the 100-bed city hospital in Carmen, which serves 200 patients per day.
Services that will be offered in the new infirmary hospital will be free of charge.
Bernardo said after a year-long operation of the soon-to-rise hospital and patients admitted are increasing, an expansion will also be underway.
"Of course we also foresee that population will grow in this part of the city, the demand for health care will also increase, and once we see that the need is there, then we will upgrade to Level I hospital, that's why we named it Cagayan de Oro Hospital-Lumbia even if it's still an infirmary so that we won't have to change it again, if we shift to a level I hospital soon," he said.
"We will all do this slowly, because it's not easy to prepare, especially budgetary-wise, manpower, we have to have facilities, to be able to satisfy our patients," he said.
Mayor Oscar Moreno for his part, said improving health care services is part of the priorities under his administration, along with building roads in the hinterlands, and building more schools.
"Gone were the days when the barangays were dominated and controlled by the former administration. There were no roads back then, no schools and health service is neglected, all just to control the people. But that is not the case now, the barangays are now emancipated and empowered with the delivery of our services," he said.
Lumbia village chief Wilhelm Valencia meanwhile called the new project an "early Christmas gift" to the residents.
Valencia related how hard to avail medical services because hospitals are far.
"Aside from the distance of the hospitals, the traffic is also worsening that's why for us, the project is really an early Christmas gift, we thank you for this," Valencia told city officials.
The City Government also bared its plan to build another hospital to serve the 2nd district of the city, particularly in barangay Tablon.
Aside from building new health facilities, the city government is also expanding the city hospital. The City Government has started the demolition of the old entrance of the city hospital.
A P70.5 million North Wing Building will soon rise at the site of the hospital’s old entrance. (With reports from Crystel Perpetua, Mary Ross Odchigue/USTP Interns)