By Claire Gigje

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The city government here has been stepping up its efforts to efficiently and effectively combat the worldwide health crisis due to the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 while also taking care of the basic health services for its citizens.

City Mayor Majul Gandamra detailed in his State of the City Address (SOCA) Friday, August 27, that the local government has already been collaborating with various line agencies, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur and the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC), a COVID-19 referral hospital in the city, from the onset of the pandemic until the present to assure that COVID-19 cases are duly responded.

Additionally, a separate office for the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) was established while thorough inter-agency orientation and training for contact tracers were conducted.

To mitigate the recorded active cases, Gandamra said the city opened additional community quarantine and treatment facilities in Siyapen for the isolation of confirmed COVID-19 patients. The City Health Office (CHO) also activated the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) to help counter COVID-related needs at the barangay level.

He detailed that the city has also implemented the nationwide vaccination program with the CHO recording at least 17,924 vaccinated individuals as of August this year noting the visible positive response from the people who want to take their shots.

The local chief executive also stressed that as the APMC has maintained its significance in the current health situation being the primary medical facility in the city that caters to COVID-19 infected residents and citizens from neighboring localities, the city government provided cash assistance worth P2 million for the establishment of the biomolecular laboratory and another P1 million to augment its operations.

“We pay importance to the health of our constituents and it is just fitting for us to extend help to the primary healthcare facility that is cradled in our health facility,” said Gandamra.

Meanwhile, the Gandamra guaranteed that basic health services are still delivered despite the focus on the pandemic with the health department breaking ground for the construction of the new Marawi City Health Unit in the City Hall Complex, and the Marawi City and the Polyclinic Hospitals located at the GMA Terminal in Brgy. Poblacion.

Such effort is expected to make health services better, affordable, and accessible to residents.

“Not only have we been focusing on the ‘now’ in terms of public health. We have also managed during this complicated time to look and act forward,” said Gandamra. (CRG/PIA Lanao del Sur)