The Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, the country’s National Maternity Hospital, in Manila will not be closed.
This was assured by Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin, allaying fears of patients and health workers who think that the government-owned medical facility will be closed.
On Friday, a protest was staged by Fabella employees and patients in front of the hospital.
“Our government, especially the Department of Health, has no heart for the poor mothers and babies treated in Fabella Hospital. Our director just announced last Monday that we should vacate the hospital compound by June 8, 2016,” Dr. Margarita F. Esquivel, president of Fabella Hospital Employees Association, said.
“Why is the government bending to the Home Guaranty Corp. which issued a letter to the DoH last September 22, 2015 to vacate the compound in order to develop into a commercial area? The DoH should stand for the patients and health workers and work out like buying the land from Home Guaranty Corp. and modernize Fabella Hospital at the present site by allotting public funds,” Alliance of Health Workers President Robert Mendoza said.
Garin, however, said the health workers will just be relocated to other DoH hospitals until the construction of the new Fabella hospital is completed next year as the old one has a very poor structure now.
“By this time hindi na lang lugar iyong problema,” Garin said.
She explained that the lot where the hospital stands – which was found to be owned by Home Guaranty Corp. in 2007 – is not their only concern right now.
“Noong nasunog ang Fabella recently maraming naapektuhan. The result showed a reduction in structural integrity by 78 to 80 percent. We cannot allow the patients to be placed there. Fabella has eight buildings, four buildings were critical right now,” the Health chief said.
It was disclosed that the structural elements of the building were found to have “decreased concrete capacity to a very low value” which makes it difficult for retrofitting and rehabilitation.
Garin said they tried to do something about it but with the huge damage, they will need P400 million and it will take a minimum of two-and-a-half years and an average of three years. (Charina Charisse Echaluce)