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BRHMC’s state-of-the-art cancer center inaugurated

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY --- Health Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa led the inauguration ceremony of Bicol’s most advanced cancer center housed at the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center’s (BRHMC).

“I want cancer patients in Bicol to have access to the most modern treatment they can get,” Herbosa said.

He said that cancer remains the country’s second leading cause of morbidity and mortality with a total of 153,751 cases in 2020 that resulted in 92,606 deaths.

The BRHMC in Albay is the catchment area for individuals suffering from diverse illnesses from the provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, and other nearby provinces. It caters even to foreigners, especially those who were diagnosed with cancer.

As of 2023, the BRHMC Bicol Cancer Center is catering to a total of 8,882 patients who are mostly with breast cancer, childhood cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

Guided by the DOH’s 8-point action agenda: “Sa Bagong Pilipinas, Bawat Buhay Mahalaga,” the inauguration of the Bicol Cancer Center-Radiation Oncology Unit is a significant stride towards the realization of Universal Health Care (UHC).

Herbosa said that array of modern equipment at the BRHMC is a manifestation of the DOH’s initiative to beef up its apparatuses to achieve an efficient and accessible health services.

By the hereunder modern equipment, the hospital continues to achieve an excellent services with the sustained operations of the Radiation Oncology Unit which possesses a license to operate the medical Linear Accelerator (LINAC), CT simulator, and other external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) services from Food and Drug Administration-Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health, and Research (FDA-CDRRHR).

Dr. Eric Raymond N. Raborar, medical director of BRHMC expressed his profound gratitude to DOH Secretary Herbosa for the apparatuses that will greatly be of help to the increasing number of patients with cancer, specifically those from the poor communities.

“We are grateful to DOH Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa, and to Undersecretary and concurrent DOH Bicol director Nestor Santiago for giving us the most advanced equipment. We always envision to provide the highest standard of medical services to the people, like the St.-Luke-style medical treatment and services to the patients, specifically the poor,” Raborar said.

The BRHMC is the heart, lung, cancer and geriatric center in Bicol catering to more than 500 patients with 250-bed capacity with allocated budget of P1,188,110,000 in 2023. Every day, the hospital sees more or less 800 patients.

The BRHMC, originally named Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), is a former US army station hospital and the region’s first government hospital run by the Department of Health.

The hospital, categorized as the cancer center hospital in Bicol, has just recently celebrated its centennial anniversary.

Raborar said that all indigent patients in the hospital enjoy free of charge services.

“We are here not to earn but to serve the people. Poor patients are free. Cancer patients benefited from Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) and Medical Assistant for Indigent Patient (MAIP) in partnership with the Malasakit Center project of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go that makes it possible to free the burden of poor patients. We can do so much if the budget is bigger,” he told The Manila Times.

Raborar said that the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF), is the annual DOH-managed pooled funds sourced from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), and donations from both local and foreign donors.

Herbosa also visited the BMC Don Susano J. Rodriguez Memorial Mental Hospital in Pili, Camarines Sur on Friday, March 8.

Dr. Ronnie Gigantone III, BMC medical center Chief shared the developmental plans of their hospital, specifically the establishment of Bicol Medical Center Urgent Care and Ambulatory Services Center (BUCAS).

The BMC plans to open the BUCAS this year and it will provide primary health care services to outpatients, especially those in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA).

These services include basic services for mental health, tuberculosis, immunization for adults, screening for breast cancer and cervical cancer, hypertension and diabetes, maternal and child care services, first aid and referrals for trauma, nutrition support, oral health, and animal bite services.

Herbosa underscored the importance of strengthening the Health Care Provider Network through a combined proactive approach of agencies and local government units to achieve Universal Health Care.

“This can be achieved through the 8-point agenda to improve the health outcomes of every Filipino, community, and health worker,” the DOH chief said.


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