By Edwin Fernandez
COTABATO CITY: Eight more ambulances were distributed to health facilities in Maguindanao province which will boost the local government units’ (LGUs) response to emergency cases, the region’s health ministry here reported Thursday.
“This is part of our bid to advance our health services to the people in the region,” Dr. Bashary Latiph, health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said in a statement.
On Wednesday afternoon, Latiph and other health officials turned over the ambulances to various barangay health (BHS) stations and rural health units (RHUs) in Maguindanao as a step toward the fulfillment of the BARMM’s mandate to look into the welfare of its constituents.
“Many lives have been saved by land ambulances, we are all witnesses to that,” Latiph said.
“The ambulance service will be the first point of care for the patients from home, from RHU, from accident sites sometimes, to the referral hospitals. They are tasked to provide first aid,” he added.
He said each new ambulance is equipped with an oxygen cylinder, heavy-duty stethoscope, folding stretcher, scoop stretcher, automatic external defibrillator, nebulizer, portable suction machine, examining light, an aneroid sphygmomanometer, among others.
Two units of mobile phones were also supplied for the use of medical officers and ambulance drivers in recipient towns.
Recipients of the vehicles included the Benolen BHS in Datu Odin Sinsuat and the RHUs in the towns of Buluan, South Upi, Datu Paglas, Shariff Aguak, Talayan, Rajah Buayan, and Buldon.
To date, 28 units of ambulances have been turned over by the BARMM health ministry to four other provinces that included eight for Lanao del Sur, three for Basilan, six for Sulu, and three units for Tawi-Tawi.
Responding to reports about the irresponsible use of some ambulances, Latiph reminded recipients and health officials that the units should only be utilized in advancing the healthcare services in their communities, especially in attending to emergency cases.
“These ambulances have no political affiliation, it is for all who are in need in times of emergency, regardless of their status in life,” Latiph said.
He said vehicles were procured under the region’s Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) 2019 where the Ministry of Health – BARMM also earlier turned over one sea ambulance to the Integrated Provincial Health Office of Tawi-Tawi.
More sea ambulances are in the pipeline for the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu, Latiph said.
On May 18, recipients of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s Transition Development Impact Fund (TDIF) project received ambulances, medical equipment and financial assistance.
Philippine News Agency