Maasin Mayor Nacional Mercado(right) leads the oath-taking ceremony of the newly- elected federation officers of senior citizens in the city on March 11.
(Contributed photo)

In Northern Samar

CATARMAN, Northern Samar- The Northern Samar Provincial Hospital (NSPH) will start admitting patients at its new three-storey building, beginning today( March 16).
Governor Jose ‘Jun’ Ong, together with some provincial department heads and other stakeholders, led in inspecting the facilities of the new hospital building on March 13 with NSPH chief of hospital Dr. Joseph Estanislao showing them around.
“Improving the state of the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital has been one of the main thrusts of my administration. Providing quality health care to the Nortehanons sits high on my priority agenda,” Gov. Ong said.
Though patient rooms are still waiting to be fully used, administrative offices have already started occupying rooms at the first level.
With the improvements, the bed capacity of the NSPH will now be 200, double from its current bed capacity.
Dr. Estanislao underlined that with a higher bed capacity, the hospital could now serve more patients.
“In all government hospitals, the number of patients always exceeds their bed capacity,” he said.
Dr. Estanislao is hopeful that with the construction of new facilities and improvement of old ones, NSPH is closer to being accredited as a Level 2 hospital by the Department of Health.
“We are overqualified as a Level 1 hospital but though it is a long road to attaining Level 2 certification, the major upgrades we are having is a big step towards achieving that goal,” the chief of hospital added.
In order to become a level 2 hospital, Dr. Estanislao said that there is a need to double NSPH’s manpower requirements such as additional doctors, nurses and social workers.
“Currently, NSPH has 28 specialists and 11 resident doctors. Still, there is a shortage in general practitioners,” Dr. Estanislao lamented.
General practitioners or family practice doctors will see patients with nearly any issue and refer them to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment.
Level 2 accreditation also requires a DOH licensed tertiary clinical laboratory and level 2 imaging facility, and the provision of respiratory therapy services.
“We need to upgrade our secondary clinical laboratory and to procure an arterial blood gas (ABG) machine [for respiratory therapy] and a portable X-ray machine,” Dr. Estanislao enumerated.
As to the level of competitiveness of NSPH as compared to other private hospitals in Northern Samar, the chief of hospital believes that they are still the best hospital in the province, debunking the notion that private hospitals are better than those government-run health facilities.
Dr. Estanislao announced that the hospital is waiting for the arrival of a new ambulance and that NSPH is a candidate recipient for a CT scan machine from DOH.
On concerns regarding the shortage of drugs, medicines and supplies available at the hospital pharmacy, he mentioned that the provincial government is procuring medicines through consignments and outsourcing agreements with pharmacies for the benefit of NSPH and other district hospitals.
NSPH, instituted in 1956, offers outpatient consultations, in-patient services in pediatrics, internal medicine, OB-gynecology, emergency and elective surgery, dentistry, optometry, radiology and physical therapy.
It maintains a clinical laboratory, pharmacy and blood bank, in addition to its operating room, delivery room, and emergency room. It operates both free and private wards.
It also has a TB-DOTS/PMDT Satellite Treatment Center for the management of tuberculosis and it is the only hospital in the region outside of Tacloban City with an HIV-AIDS treatment hub.