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First Malasakit Center in the province of Apayao was opened today, September 4, at Far North Luzon General Hospital & Training Center! This is hoping it helps the Filipinos in need of their hospitals!
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The Far North Luzon General Hospital & Training Center is a national hospital with an authorized 100-bed capacity created by virtue of R.A. 8536 authored by Hon. Elias K. Bulut, Sr., then Congressman - lone District of Apayao and was signed into law by his Excellency President Fidel V. Ramos on February 23, 1998.
The operation of the hospital started as an infirmary on August 1, 1999 in an old and dilapidated four-room public elementary school building in Barangay Tumog, Luna, Apayao. This jumpstart was made possible thru the joint efforts of the Provincial Government of Apayao and the Office of the Representative. Repairs and renovation of the old building was undertaken through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) while the Provincial Government provided personnel by designating health workers coming from different hospitals of the province as well as volunteer workers.
The Department of Health (DOH) finally took over its operation upon the release of its initial fund under the 1999 Organizational Adjustment Fund (OAF) on December 27, 1999 and subsequently designated Dr. Danilo A. Domingo, who was then the Provincial Health Officer II of the Province of Apayao as OIC-Chief of Hospital in concurrent capacity by then Secretary of Health, Sec. Alberto Romualdez until June 6, 2000 when he became the regular incumbent.
The hospital’s occupancy of the Tumog Elementary School compound, however, was temporary because of the limited space, coupled with the admission of patients with various infectious diseases compromising the health of school children thus the hospital was transferred to the vacant buildings of a Catholic Mission High School (St. Anthony) in Poblacion, Luna, Apayao on September 15, 2001 under a leasehood agreement. Subsequently, the hospital management undertook the needed repairs and renovations and upgrades other infrastructure to establish the vital sections required of a secondary level of health care with funds from the DOH MOOE. On February 17, 2004, the FNLGHTC obtained a Level II license and was accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation on July 8, 2005.
FNLGHTC is about 137 kms from the Cagayan Valley Medical Center, a Level 4 hospital of Region 2 and about 220 kms from Mariano Marcos Memorial Medical Center, a Level 4 hospital in Region 1.
With funds from the DOH, the hospital was finally transferred to its new site at Quirino in the Municipality of Luna and the FNLGHTC Phase I upgrading that is, the Ward Building and the OPD/ER Building were completed. Out of seven (7) hospitals in the province of Apayao, the FNLGHTC is the only Level II hospital that serves as referral hospital of the six (6) Level I hospitals and RHU’s in the catchment area.
The hospital can perform and manage increasing cases of low intensity but high frequency illnesses which are infectious in nature, but only to a limited extent resulting to a low utilization of the said health care facility. Moreover, some general cases need to be referred to other health care institution due to lack of capacity for such services, due to inadequate health human resources and lack of medical and diagnostic equipment.
Therefore, the hospital needs to be further developed to enable it to effectively play its role as a Core-referral general health care facility providing general health care services in the province of Apayao and nearby municipalities of Cagayan province.