8 indigent kids receive cardiovascular surgery

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – Eight indigent children with complex heart conditions benefited from the 3rd Cardiovascular Surgical Mission of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), in partnership with the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH), held in this city from June 24 to 28.

The latest mission aimed to perform surgeries on patients aged 6 to 15 from the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Silay, and Kabankalan.

This marks a significant milestone for the Island of Negros, as it is the first to address Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) among other congenital heart defects in pediatric patients, according to CLMMRH in a statement.

TOF is a combination of four congenital defects: pulmonary stenosis, ventricular septal defect, overriding aorta, and hypertrophy of the right ventricle, CLMMRH explained.

The PHC sent 23 members of its staff led by Dr. Juliet Balderas, officer-in-charge deputy executive director for medical services.

This mission is part of a four-phase multiyear development plan called “Project Paglaum” (Hope), which represents CLMMRH’s commitment to fulfilling the mandate of the Department of Health (DOH) as a designated cardiovascular center.

This initiative ensures that cardiovascular services are available, accessible, and affordable to the people of Negros.

Through this mission, CLMMRH underscores its dedication to expanding healthcare accessibility and providing specialized care to the underserved while promoting equitable access, particularly for those affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The PHC’s collaboration with CLMMRH aims to capacitate regional hospitals to decentralize cardiovascular surgeries and interventions from the PHC to the provinces, in compliance with the implementing rules and regulations for Republic Act 11959, also known as the Regional Specialty Center Act.

Phase 1 of “Project Paglaum” began with two pacemaker surgeries in April and May 2021, followed by the first surgical mission from May 29 to June 2, 2023.

The signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the PHC and CLMMRH for the latter’s training and preparation as a regional heart center was held on May 29, 2023.

A total of 13 surgeries have been performed for the initial batch, including eight open-heart surgeries and five closed-heart surgeries.

In the second mission from November 27 to December 1 last year, five patients with coronary artery disease underwent a coronary artery bypass graft procedure.

All patients in the two missions were discharged well and improved, according to CLMMRH.


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