1,118 Botika ng Barangay outlets serve Western Visayas
Iloilo City (28 September) -- Residents in Western Visayas will now have greater access to low-priced yet quality medicines with the establishment of 1,118 Botika ng Barangay (BnB) outlets in different parts of the region as of August this year.
Data obtained from the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) based in this city showed that the province of Iloilo has the most BnB outlets with 568 followed by Aklan with 199, Negros Occidental with 179, Antique 79, Iloilo City with 49, Guimaras with 26 and Capiz with 18.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque bared in a recent press report that Western Visayas ranked no. 2 among the regions in the country with the most number of BnB outlets next to Central Luzon with 1,572 and Ilocos, third, with 728.
BnB was established in 2003 to ensure accessibility to low-priced generic over-the-counter and eight prescription drugs. It is one of the products of the "Half-Priced Program" of the government intended to reduce the cost of medicines commonly bought by the poor to half of their 2001 prices. The provision of low-priced yet quality medicines is one of the legacy programs of President Arroyo.
Among the medicines sold at the BnB outlets are antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetes, anti-asthma, vitamins, analgesic, pain reliever, herbal tablets and common home remedies.
Duque said the DOH will set up more than 23,000 BnB outlets by year 2010 or an estimated one outlet for every two adjacent barangays to reach more beneficiaries. To achieve this, more than 3,000 BnB outlets will be set up every year beginning 2007 up to 2010.
The BnB outlets being non-profit are managed by people's organizations and non-governmental groups.
Under the program, the DOH identifies the site, then enter into an agreement with local government unit and scout for supervising pharmacies. Then the DOH will provide the seed capital of Php25,000 worth of medicines and drugs to local government through the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC). (PIA) [top]