BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance strengthening the geriatrics program at the City Health Services Office (CHSO) and providing funds for the sustainable implementation of the said program.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda stipulates that pursuant to the State policy of caring for its elderly, it is likewise declared a policy of the city government to extend all possible programs and services, and explore all means to provide quality care to its senior citizens.
The ordinance defined geriatrics medicine as the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and the problems specific to aging.
The proposed local legislative measure tasked the CHSO to lead in the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the ordinance such as preparing and implementing a program for the comprehensive medical care of senior citizens, including health problems that frequently affect them like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy, heart diseases, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorder, memory loss, , incontinence (involuntary loss of urine), and medication side effects, among others.
The ordinance added the program shall include prevention, treatment, care, including social and psychological support for the elderly.
According to the proposal, the CHSO shall likewise provide regular check-up for the elderly in the district health centers established in the different parts of the city and formulate the guidelines in the availment of the medical and health care services, medication and treatment, and laboratory tests as enumerated under the measure.
The ordinance requires only senior citizens who are bonafide residents of the city may avail of the program, that is, individuals aged 60 years old and above.
The ordinance disclosed the funding for the geriatrics program shall be included in the annual budget of the CHSO specifically for the said purpose.
Article 12, Rule X of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act (RA) 9257 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003 provides the partnership of the local government units and the national government where both entities shall establish a community-based health and rehabilitation program in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), non-government organizations, peoples organizations and other concerned agencies and develop and implement programs responsive to the needs of senior citizens in their localities.
The ordinance noted that currently, a significant number of senior citizens in the city have various illnesses but they cannot seek medical services and rehabilitation programs at private clinics or private or government hospitals on a regular basis, because they neither have the body strength to queue nor the financial capability to pay such important services.
The proponent claimed it is the intent of the ordinance to provide the elderly with access to the geriatrics facilities and medical services appropriate to their needs aside from laying down the mechanism for the availment of the services and facilities that shall meet the particular needs of every elderly.
By Dexter A. See