No discrimination of patients – DOH

DOH-6 regional director Marlyn Convocar (left) in a press conference with DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III (center) and Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe of DOH-6 at District 21 Hotel in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. (Jennifer Ponsaran-Rendon)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas said protocols are being followed in the referral and care of dengue patients from community units to the hospitals.

This was the clarification of DOH-6 regional director Marlyn Convocar in the aftermath of the concerns of Dr. Mae Albacete, municipal health officer of Maasin, Iloilo, who expressed her frustration on the purported refusal of Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao, Iloilo to accept four dengue patients from the town.

Earlier, Dr. Joseph Dean Nicolo, WVMC chief, clarified that the dengue patients were never turned away.

Nicolo said the patients underwent assessment and evaluation and were eventually referred to the nearest district hospitals in Cabatuan and Santa Barbara.

Convocar supported Nicolo’s statement emphasizing that there is no discrimination of patients from the RHUs and district hospitals.

“WVMC does not turn away any patients as long as they are in the hospitals. There is no discrimination of patients coming from the referral end up to the hospital,” she said in a press conference on Thursday.

According to Convocar, ideally all the patients from the RHUs should be referred to the nearest district hospitals and then from the district hospitals they should be referred to the Level 3 hospitals if needed.

In extreme cases, patients can be admitted from RHUs directly to Level 3 hospitals.

In response to the Maasin case, Convocar said that they will issue a guideline on Friday to reiterate the existing memorandum on the guidelines of case referrals.

“As far as the Maasin issue is concerned, we will issue a guideline tomorrow so there is already an existing guideline on the referral of cases before so we will just reiterate our advocacy and our memorandum,” she said.

Convocar said they will conduct an investigation on the matter.



Meanwhile, as part of logistic support to local government units (LGU), the DOH provided P39,191,146 worth of dengue commodities to six provinces and two highly urbanized cities in Western Visayas.

The commodities include NS1 RDT kits or dengue test kits, adulticides and larvicides (for mosquito eradication), insecticide-treated mosquito nets and screens, oral rehydration solutions, spray cans, and misting machines.

Health Sec. Francisco Duque III also directed the utilization of the 2019 Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) funds totalling P198.34 million by the regional health office to assist dengue patients referred for admission from LGU hospitals to private health facilities.

The assistance is covered by a memorandum of agreement between the provinces and the private hospitals.

“We commend the leadership in Western Visayas for acting swiftly to address this outbreak. We also reiterate our call to the public to go to the nearest health facility when experiencing the signs and symptoms of dengue and not wait for it to get worse,” he said.

Five provinces (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo) and one highly urbanized city (Iloilo City) have already declared dengue outbreaks recently.

Iloilo and Antique provinces were also place under state of calamity.

Based on the latest data from the health department, the region recorded 18,834 dengue cases with 94 deaths.