DOH to strengthen services of Marawi’s Amai Pakpak hospital

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) will reinforce the operation of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi, Lanao del Sur as part of government efforts to prepare for the return of residents, now that the city has been liberated from terrorists linked to the Maute Group.

Dr. Gloria Balboa, director of the department’s Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) Operation Center, on Monday encouraged Marawi’s internally displaced persons (IDP) to avail of Amai Pakpak Medical Center’s services as the hospital has been declared safe.

Balboa said DOH Officer-in-Charge Secretary Dr. Herminigildo Valle had been to Marawi to discuss with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ways to strengthen the provision of basic health services for the IDPs.

She noted that the hospital did not really stop operating long since it resumed right after the military announced that it was safe to reopen a month after fighting between government troops and terrorists broke out late May.

“During the time that there was a crisis, most of the patients needing medical treatment were usually sent to (neighboring) Iligan as it was a lot safer there,” Balboa told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.

She said the DOH signed an agreement with private hospitals in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City, as well as those in some parts of Lanao del Sur, to ensure that displaced residents of Marawi get the medical attention they need.

The Amai Pakpak Medical Center is the only tertiary hospital in Marawi capable of operating around the clock.

Task Force Bangon Marawi, which is spearheading the rebuilding of Marawi, plans to reinforce the provision of health services in the city, especially immunization against various illnesses; offer psychosocial interventions; and promote proper nutrition, sanitation and hygiene. It also plans to employ Maranao-speaking health staff for effective communication with patients. Leilani Junio/PNA