Free medical services closer to Filipinos via LAB for ALL

2023 July 21

HEALTH CARE FOR ALL FILIPINOS. A woman receives a free eye checkup during a LAB for ALL caravan in Zambales on July 18, 2023. The initiative, a project of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, provides free medicines, free consultation for pediatric, obstetric, gynecological concerns, free ECG [electrocardiogram], free dental extraction, and free minor surgeries, among others.

MANILA – A year after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. vowed to bring the health care system closer to the people, the Department of Health (DOH) under his administration ensured the establishment of accessible hospitals and health centers in rural communities and the provision of medical services.

Last May 16, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos launched the “Libreng Laboratoryo, Konsulta, at Gamot Para sa Lahat” or LAB for ALL caravan at the Dreamzone Capitol in Batangas.

The initiative aims to provide free laboratory services, free x-ray, free consultation with specialists and free medicines for the Filipino community.

After its launch, the LAB for ALL caravans is being conducted every Tuesday not only in Batangas but also in Baguio City, Bulacan, Tarlac, Laguna, Pampanga, and Zambales.

The caravans are made possible by the DOH’s partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Food and Drug Administration, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc., and Sagip Party-list among others.

The PCSO donated two ambulances for the LAB for ALL initiative.

Apart from providing medical services, the caravans also promote as venues for the promotion of the DOH’s programs and services in line with the President’s goal to establish a productive community by first creating a healthy community.

Catheterization Laboratory (CathLab)

Residents of Central Luzon needing the services of interventional cardiac procedures and non-cardiac procedures under interventional radiology (both vascular and non-vascular) no longer have to travel to Manila.

This is after a new CathLab at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga opened on March 24.

Its construction was made possible through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program and in coordination with provincial and local government units.

The construction fund was taken out of the PHP1 billion budget given to the hospital in 2013 for the completion of its equipment and buildings.

It was completed in 120 days so it can immediately cater to all diseases faced by the patients in the region.

Clark Multi Specialty Medical Center (CMSMC)

The DOH also started the construction of the CMSMC on July 17.

Equipped with cutting-edge facilities, the CMSMC aims to provide topnotch medical care to its patients through a comprehensive range of specialized departments, including heart, kidney, cancer, and pediatric centers.

The soon-to-rise center is a result of collaboration between the DOH, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, the Clark Development Corporation, Pampanga local government units , and in partnership with the private sector like the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc.

The DOH considers the CMSMC a pioneering catalyst for transformative change in establishing specialized medical centers nationwide as it provides improved accessibility to advanced medical services.

Other specialty hospitals

To ensure that Filipinos nationwide receive specialized medical care, the President signed Executive Order No. 19, series of 2023, directing the establishment of the Philippine Heart Center Annex in the Clark Freeport Zone last March 10.

Moreover, the Cancer Institute and Oxygen Generating Plant of Cotabato Regional and Medical Center was inaugurated on June 22 this year.

The oxygen-generating plant aims to provide local hospitals with sufficient supplies of medical oxygen which significantly increased in price when the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Ma. Teresa Montemayor (PNA)