NIB and NKTI conduct 4th Blood Donation Day for elderly patients of National Center for Geriatric Health
October 5, 2016 11:02 am
By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, Oct.4 (PNA) — The News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Operations Office (PCO), in cooperation with the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), conducted on Tuesday its 4th Blood Donation Day at the Social Hall of the Mabini Executive Building in Malacanang, Manila.
The blood donation program is conducted annually for the benefits of the "Lolos and Lolas" (elderly/senior citizen patients) under the care and treatment of the National Center for Geriatric Health (NCGH) located at the Malacanang Complex.
The event was also a way of paying back to the elders by serving them with health services which coincided with the celebration this year of the “Elderly Filipino Week” focusing on the theme of extending salute, love, and giving importance to older people.
NCGH is located within the Malacanang Compound and operates to provide treatment for the sick elders.
The blood donation activity was made successful through the cooperation of employees and concerned citizens such as walk-in donors like overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), employees of the Court of Appeals, and officials and employees of the Office of the President.
Other groups and partners included those of Dr. Ronnie A. Royo, president of the Natural Health Foundation of the Philippines Inc.; Rev. Dr. Allan T. Asuncion of Health Code International; Maja V. Tindoy-Atayde of Rotary Club of Manila JP Laurel Malacanang and owner of Oku Wellness and Café in Marikina City.
Other participants included employees and staff of NIB-Philippines News Agency, NIB-PNA OJT (on-the-job- training) Program, Presidential Broadcast Staff-Radio Television Malacanang, and many others.
In an interview with PNA, Dr. Melhammid C. Tomawis, medical specialist of NCGH, said the center is primarily created for the elders in the country with the aim to provide them specialized health services just like in other countries.
Dr. Tomawis explained the vision for the NCGH as a specialty hospital for senior citizens with equipment funded during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a safety net for aging Filipinos who need specialized treatment just like in other specialty hospitals such as Dr. Fabella Hospital operating as maternal hospital and NKTI for kidneys/dialysis treatment, etc.
However, he said that the NCGH functions were actually limited and had not been expanded during the previous administration.
Tomawis recalled that the center was put under the operational arm of Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) during the time of former President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Because of this situation, only minor treatments and confinements are being conducted in the said hospital as it cannot even do its own laboratory check-ups and X-rays because all of these have to be conducted in the JRRMC.
Dr. Tomawis said this is ironical since the NCGH can have the same capability if only it is given the go-signal to do so or be institutionalized.
He recalled that the campaign for the institutionalization of the NCGH to benefit the elders as a legacy to them started since 2010 wherein they have lobbied to Congress and the Office of the President, through different forms of communication materials and other means.
Unfortunately, the said lobbying was not given much attention by the concerned authorities.
They even held a “Walk-for-a-Cause in 2012” for such initiative, along with a one-million signature campaign for the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) by the President for such purpose, but their "plea fell to deaf ears."
He said that out of dismay, he even disclosed the fate of the NCGH in television and print interviews then as he expressed desire that the next administration would heed the call for the institutionalization of the NCGH.
Dr. Tomawis added that right now, they are even facing the threat of converting the NCGH into a general hospital which they are strongly opposing.
“Converting it to a general hospital is unacceptable… That will destroy the very essence and purpose of the NCGH that should cater solely to the elderly,” he said, adding that all-out support should be given to the senior citizens of the country.
The Maranao physician said they see a hope that their dream for the issuance of an Executive Order for the NCGH institutionalization will now be seen as vital by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“By being a senior citizen himself (President Duterte), I know and the elders who are patients of NCGH look forward that he will make this a reality and a legacy,” he said.
He further said that the perceived issuance of such an EO will pave the way for the passage of a Republic Act that will further strengthen the operation of NCGH to fulfill its vision of providing care to every old citizen of this country. (PNA)