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THE chief of hospital of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) said health is one of the critical components in nation building so that healthy people will result to a healthy economy.

Dr. Gerardo “Gerry” Aquino said in his speech at Bayfront Hotel last February 21, 2021 that the country’s economy will be sluggish if several people are sick and have no time to work and earn a living.

Aquino attended the launching of HARRY Med Assist or Health Assistance of Recovery and Rehabilitation for You offered by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

Aquino said VSMMC has served about 170,000 people in all walks of life in conducting RT-PCR tests for free in the fight against the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19) and prevent the collapse of the economy.

Aquino said their hospital is the first molecular laboratory accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) with drive-thru and walk-thru operations in RT-PCR tests.

He said that it is fortunate that Roque sponsored the Universal Health Care Law when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

Aquino said that Philhealth is a state insurance agency but the benefit in its case rate is not enough. In angioplasty, the Philhealth package is only P45,000, but the whole cost is actually high.

He said that VSMMC is now capable of doing heart and brain surgeries, and a cancer center which is in the top five. “Some of those cancer patients cannot afford the cost so we need other modalities,” he said. The poor people have no money to go to Manila or admit to private hospital, so they just do whatever they can.

“That’s the reason why we did our best to set up all the services needed and provide quality health care to those who badly need it,” Aquino said.

Even though there is Philhealth, Aquino said the benefit is not enough, prompting other people to support them in helping the poor.

He added that VSMMC has the first Malasakit Center, and the government had just inaugurated the 101st one in Luzon.

Aquino said that at present, they have already served 325,000 Malasakit patients at VSMMC. They have other sources to help them, including this latest program, HARRY Med Assist.

“This is a big help in terms of our patients. Every individual deserves the optimum patient experience from admission to rehabilitation. Unfortunately, not everyone can avail of these things due to some reasons and other factors which affect the well-being of a recovering patient. Sadly, this scenario is common in our country,” Aquino said.

He said that for several years, they have worked hard to change people’s perception about this medical syndrome. But they offer refuge instead and provide compassionate care and service. And that is the best option, not their last resort.

Moreover, Aquino said VSMMC is humbled to havegained of many respected officials in government who share the same interest with their institution, in providing good quality health services to patients and stakeholders. They support beyond what is expected of a government hospital.

“I am truly elated that our efforts gradually paid off, proof of which is the support given to us by the different government agencies to ensure sustainability of resources thereby enabling us to deliver health care services expected of us,” Aquino said.

At the height of the pandemic, Aquino said the dialysis patients do not like to go to VSMMC for fear of being hit by Covid-19.

“So, we had a partnership with some government agencies and private institutions wherein they put up a VSMMC satellite dialysis center at SM City,” Aquino said.

He said they are truly honored that VSMMC has been chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the health assistance for recovery and rehabilitation of the HARRY Med Assist which will help those who are seeking recovery and rehabilitation without the expense of having to pay the high cost, and they will receive proper medical attention.