By Kier Edison C. Belleza
Cebu City – Construction of the first government-owned cancer center in Central Visayas starts today, according to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) management.
Dr. Antonio Paradela, VSMMC officer-in-charge, said there was a need to fast-track work on the center since the equipment, which is being bid out by the Department of Health Central Office, might be brought or delivered anytime.
The building, Paradela said, will be built on a former tennis court which is now a parking lot.
Parking space for hospital clients and post-graduate interns will be limited since the construction area will be cordoned off.
By January, areas around the tennis court may also be affected since the contractor will be bringing in a crane.
“We’d like to apologize to the public because the enclosure may bring about inconvenience, but the advantage is that we’ll have a cancer center of our own, which is probably less than the expenses in a private hospital,” Paradela said.
Only hospital personnel with car stickers will be allowed to park near the construction site, and other vehicles will only be allowed to drop off patients and bags at designated areas.
The hospital has around 1,700 employees.
Once completed, the cancer center will be the third facility of its kind in the region. As the only government-run center, it will provide reasonably priced services for indigents suffering from the third leading cause of death in Central Visayas.
Paradela said the center, which is expected to be finished in a year’s time, will have specialized equipment, including a linear particle accelerator, brachytherapy machine and mammogram.
“It’s not a hospital. It’s more of a clinic, although, there are some areas in the upper floors that would be private rooms… It will cater patients who are battling all types of cancer,” Paradela said.
Initial funding for the eight-story center which has two basements as parking areas is pegged at R475.8 million, which will be sourced both from national government funds and VSSMC’s income.
At a press conference, Paradela revealed that other specialty centers are planned for the hospital.
“These may include orthopedic, geriatric and even dermatology centers,” he said.