By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government wants to modernize the city’s barangay health centers by adopting a scheme where doctors can make medical consultation even without being physically present with the patient.
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said “there is a certain technology wherein a doctor is assigned to three to four health centers but he is not physically present in those health centers.
Through modern technology, Belmonte said the doctor just needs a big television screen, where nurses may secure relevant medical data about the patient.
These pieces of information include but not limited to the vital signs of the patient where the doctor may then give instructions on what the patient needs to do or to take.
“It is time to innovate the barangay health centers in the city to efficiently address various health problems and concerns,’’ Belmonte said.
She expressed her frustration over the lack of doctors in the Quezon City health centers prompting her to come up with a plan to modernize medical consultations through virtual checkup.
“That way, the doctors can give advice to several health centers to several patients all at the same time,” she added.
Belmonte said they are encouraged to consider the idea since the technology is now being used by other cities in the Philippines as well as in other neighboring countries.
“It’s time for a change. It’s time to think out of the box,” Belmonte said.
In the meantime, Belmonte said her team is still planning and studying the program carefully.
Belmonte also sees the need to address the lack of official data on the health status of residents which makes the city ill-equipped in providing programs for the people’s needs.
“I want the city to gather official data because as of the moment, we all know that there is none. And when it comes to health data—how many people are in need, how many people die every day, what are the usual causes of death, and statistics when it comes to mortality, morbidity, pregnancy rate—we will not know what programs we are supposed to give to our people without that data,” she added.
She also disclosed that data gathering will start in the first six months of 2019,
“I have already allocated P20 million for us to have a data gathering component so there will be some personnel who will ask the people about their health conditions and any other concern,” the vice mayor said.
Belmonte also stressed her vision of launching more Barangay Health Management Councils to provide adequate medical support to the wider range of population in the city..
“Dapat ngayon lahat ng barangay mayroon nang Barangay Health Management Council because after interacting a lot of the people of our city, nakita natin na ang pangunahing concern nila ay ang kalusugan kung kaya ang kailangan nating lahat ay paigtingin ang ating kampanya patungkol sa kalusugan sa antas ng komunidad (All of the city’s barangays should have a Barangay Health Management Council since after meeting a lot of the people I discovered that their primary concern is about health. So that is why I see the need to upgrade the delivery of public medical service),’’ Belmonte stressed.
“This institution, the Barangay Health Management Council, could address all the health concerns of our people,” she added.
Belmonte assured that “all of the city’s health concerns can get proper attention with proper planning, thinking out of the box, innovating ideas, and consulting the best practices of our LGUs (local government units) and our health management councils.”