A Health center with the feel of a private hospital

  

By Rose de la Cruz 

For over 110,000 dwellers of barangays 128, 129, 130 and 133, the newly-renovated two-storey Smokey Mountain Health Center and Lying-In Clinic that was turned over Tuesday to their local health officials, has the feel of a private hospital with the comforts of fans, beds, waiting lounges, comfort rooms, wide-screen television at the waiting area and a dedicated children’s play area and senior’s citizens lounge. 

These are amenities they have never known or experienced in their life and which SM Foundation Inc. and the Philippine Business for Social Progress bestowed upon them with the hope that they, the recipients, would take the best care of these facilities for the long haul.

 The turnover was graced by Manila Mayor, former President Joseph E. Estrada Tuesday afternoon with local health officials and the leaders of barangays benefitting from the newly-renovated health center. 

 

The former health center was located only at the second floor of the same building, but since it was seeking accreditation with the Philhealth for its lying-in facility it had to be required to transfer the clinic to the ground floor to help pregnant women, especially those with advanced pregnancy stages. 

 

It took them years to look for a gracious donor, SM Foundation, which rebuilt the health center and placed the lying-in clinic downstairs along with ramp for those that have to be wheeled into the senior diagnostic clinic and lying in clinic (with pre and post-natal check-ups). The PBSP has an ongoing safe motherhood campaign in the whole Tondo district, where teenage pregnancy is on all-time high and family planning is hardly every practiced. 

 

As Dra. Evelyn Rimando, who has served with Manila Health Office and then Smokey Mountain health center since 2010, said she delivers at least 30 babies a month, or about one per day. 

 

Wilma C. Baldezo, who at 21 is pregnant with her third child by a different partner, said she wanted to give birth right during the launch, if only she could hasten the reproductive process. “Para akong nasa first-class private hospital,” she said adding she had always delivered only by midwives. She delivered her first baby at 16, her second at 17 and then now her third at 21. Asked if she plans on having more babies she said yes because her partner (a tricycle driver) is a very responsible man whom she loves so much.

 

 

 

Common sicknesses 

 

Since it was erected in 2010, the Smokey Mountain Health Center and Lying-in clinic has been tending to ailments like upper respiratory tract infection; hypertension, diabetes and pre and post- natal care. But it limits its pre-natal care to 18 years old and above, those less than 35 years old (beyond which is considered high- risk pregnancies that must be referred to full-blown hospitals) and not over four pregnancies (whether successful or not), said Dra. Rimando.

 

The nearest hospital to the health center is Tondo General Hospital, one of six districts hospitals set up by Erap’s predecessor, Mayor Alfredo Lim, which is right behind the health center.

 

 Services offered in the health center are: consultations; free immunization; family planning; adolescent care; hypertension (especially for senior citizens) and lying-in. A pharmacy is on hand to supply the prescribed medicines of the patients, with the medicines and vaccines provided free by the City Hall and some supplies from the Department of Health.

 

The health center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday thru Fridays but the lying-in clinic is open all day for seven days with midwives and nursing aides and “flying squad” doctors or those assigned by the district hospitals for service in the health centers.

 

During the launch, Erap asked his constituents to take good care of the health center and not to hesitate to have their check-ups there because consultations and medicines are free of charge, and if referred to district hospitals, they would also be accommodated for free.

 

Erap said he is making available to Manilans their basic needs from womb to tomb (with free burial at the North Cemetery), a project actually started and implemented by his predecessor and which he retained.

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