Botika on wheels, free medicines and services for poor proposed

AN independent veteran lawmaker on Monday urged the Department of Health (DoH) in coordination with its regional offices and local government units (LGUs) to launch clinics and botika on wheels to give free essential medicines and medical services to the marginalized in barangays in the wake of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The needed medical supplies shall be provided by the DoH using its available 2020 funds consisting of (a) P19.090 billion “for the purchase and allocation of drugs, medicines and vaccines”; (b) P10.5 billion “for the social health protection program”; (c) P2.033 billion “for family health, nutrition and responsible parenting”; and (d) P600 million for Quick Response Fund (QRF),” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Lagman added many local government officials are complaining that their medical supplies have been depleted or completely distributed, even as others who have the funds have unserved purchase orders.

He said his door-to-door medical assistance proposal to the poor will preclude them from going out of their homes to seek medication and avoid the risk of contamination.

“The needy do not have to travel to Malasakit Centers, health centers and rural health units (RHUs) as medicines and health services will be delivered to their doorsteps. The drugs and medicines for free distribution should include multivitamins and ascorbic acid, pain and fever medications, cold and cough remedies, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial ointments, first-aid supplies, and contraceptives, among others,” Lagman explained.

Lagman said the services should include pre-natal and post-natal care, blood pressure and blood sugar level readings, consultations, immunization of infants and children, and simple laboratory tests.

“All necessary amounts disbursed by the DOH from its 2020 budget to activate clinics and botika on wheels will be replenished in a supplemental budget to be enacted by the Congress,” said Lagman.