Beneco council endorses free dialysis nationwide

>> Friday, June 16, 2017

By Ramon Dacawi 

BAGUIO CITY -- The campaign towards making dialysis a free medical procedure to free thousands of patients from the debilitating costs of the life-saving treatment continues to gain ground, with the local Multi-sectoral Electrification Advisory Council (MSEAC) endorsing the plea to national health and government authorities.
The MSEAC (Baguio side) of the Benguet Electric Cooperative composed of barangay leaders adopted the resolution of support during its meeting last Thursday at the BENECO office along South Drive here.
“We are one with the media and sectoral representatives in pushing for free dialysis in order to free patients and their relatives of the financial impact of having to undergo twice or thrice-a-week hemodialysis for a lifetime,” council president Eva Fianza said.
“Dialysis is offered free in other countries because it is a life-saving emergency medical procedure, and the Philippine government would be giving untold relief to families with patients by following suit,” added council secretary Edith Ibarra.
The resolution was authored by Benjamin Macadangdang, Punong barangay of Lourdes Subdivision Extension here.
Similar resolutions were earlier adopted bysecveral barangays here and in other parts of the Cordillera, Brent School, the University of Baguio Science High School  and other groups as the number of dialysis patients continues to rise with the opening of several dialysis treatment centers here.
The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, the organization of Baguio-based media practitioners headed by Jane Cadalig, the Philippine Information Agency regional office under director Helen Tibaldo and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Patients and Partners Association earlier launched the signature campaign to convince the Department of Health to free thousands of patients and their families of the continuous burden of having to scrounge for funds to extend the lives of their ailing members.
Earlier, dialysis patients here, in cooperation with the city government, worked out the doubling of treatment sessions provided by the Philhealth from 45 sessions to 90 sessions per year and the opening of offices here and in Bontoc, Mt. Province  of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes OIffice so patients can avail of  its medical support program.
The resolutions seeking such support were authored by city councilor Peter Fianza and personally followed up by city mayor Mauricio Domogan with Philhealth and PCSO officials.
               The on-going signature campaign aims to convince members of both houses of the Philippine Congress to pool their respective funds they distribute to medical patients so those undergoing dialysis no longer have to personally seek their support in order to sustain their treatment.
“While the aforementioned support through the budgetary allocations of political leaders is welcome, its coverage is limited to patients who make and follow requests for support, to the neglect of those who are not aware of the procedure on how to access these sources of fund support,” the MSEAC resolution noted.
Recently, Baguio Congressman Marquez Go and Senator Sonny Angara filed separate bills seeking free dialysis for Filipinos whose families receive P30,000 to P72,009 family income a month.
In a rejoinder, patients asked the two solons to increase the ceiling, saying even families without ailing members needing life-time treatment are already hard up making ends meet with the figures.
“In some instances, the patient is the bread-winner who has to stop working and depend on support of the government in order to survive,” noted one patient.

Unable to cope with the cost of dialysis, some patients decide to die, not only to free them from the four-hour treatment but also to liberate their families from the continuing financial burden. 


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