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PIA Press Release

DOH takes center stage as biggest ally of Samar mayor in providing basic social services

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan (June 17) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office 8 received praises and accolades from Hinabangan Mayor Alejandro Abarratigue during his first State of the Municipality Address (SOMA) on June 15, 2009.

The event also coincided with the town's 61st founding anniversary celebration.

Abarratigue recounted that when he started to serve as Mayor three years ago, Hinabangan had no doctor.

His repeated pleadings for a doctor paid off when a 'Doctor to the Barrios' Dr. Rhee Tecson was sent to Hinabangan to serve as the Municipal Health Officer.

Tecson in an earlier interview with PIA claims he is from the city but accepted the post as he feels challenged with his job as a rural health officer.

Today, the young doc is one of the mayor's favourite ally in providing health services that he devoted two pages of praises for the young physician whom the mayor mentioned literally hiked and trekked through mountains to reach the most remote barangays called Cabang and Tabay.

PIA learned that it takes a half day climb through Samar's rugged terrain to reach Tabay.

Tecson, the mayor said initiated blood letting in this town and has established a blood bank in Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC) the biggest government hospital in the region.

Another plus which the mayor thanked DOH was for giving them a Health Manager Ms Steph Asence, to this he credited DTTB Coordinator Dr Genelyn Herrera.

The new Rural Health Unit, said Mayor Alex has lab tests very useful to his poor constituents who do not have to go to Samar's capital town nor to Tacloban city for the needed services.

He also mentioned the sufficient medicines for the disposal of his people with "no color coding, basta nangangailangan, pinagbibigyan."

The RHU has also a resident medical technologist.

Mayor Abarratigue also thanked the national government for the Nurses Assigned in Rural Areas (NARS) program as it gave his Hinabangan three young nurses as committed as the young DTB Tecson in providing the best service.

As DOH Regional Director, Dr. Ed Gonzaga was present, Abarratigue gave recognition to the additional Botika ng Barangay allocated by DOH 8 which does not only provide cheaper medicines but gives additional income to a few Hinabangnon operators.

To show how much he values his leading health service providers and the volunteers assisting the medical personnel, Abarratigue announced that he was giving additional honorarium to his 100 Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). (PIA-Samar) [top]

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