By BEN R. ROSARIO
Manila, Philippines – If you are sick, do not go to a Pangasinan provincial government hospital.
This was the apparent message of the Commission on Audit (CoA) when it assailed the provincial government of Pangasinan for operating 14 hospitals that lack enough medical equipment to diagnose and treat sick patients.
“More patients could have been extended with quality and affordable curative health care services had the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital and other district and community hospitals been sufﬁciently equipped with hospital equipment,” said CoA in its 2010 audit report on the provincial government.
State auditors noted that instead of allocating money to purchase or restore vital hospital equipment, the administration of Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino ﬁnanced the construction and restoration of fences and certain hospital buildings.
According to CoA, an ocular inspection conducted on the various medical centers run by the provincial government showed that many equipment are outdated, “if not out of order.”
“The hospitals lacked adequate and appropriate medical equipment such as respirator, electro-cautery, X-ray, ultrasound, ECG (electrocradiogram) machines, chemistry analyzer, fetal doppler, non-mercurial thermometer, and surgical and laboratory equipment, just to enumerate a few,” CoA said.
The audit report added, “There were instances when patients were either referred to private hospitals or advised to seek medical treatment elsewhere because of lack of needed equipment.”
Auditors also revealed that the capacity of generators purchased by the provincial government is not “enough to meet the power requirement to operate the entire hospitals in case of brownouts.”
Reacting to the report, the provincial government explained that it decided to give priority to the repair and maintenance of existing hospital structures that were destroyed by typhoons.
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