Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has lauded the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to perform pediatric liver transplantations in the country on Wednesday at the Premier Guest House in Malacañan Palace.
Under the MOA, which the Department of Health (DOH) signed with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) and The Medical City (TMC), the government hospital will identify qualified patients, the private hospital will perform the transplants and the DOH will reimburse the expenses through the PCMC, among other stipulations.
Go, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, shared in his speech that President Rodrigo Duterte decided to develop liver transplantations in the country due to their experience in helping Filipino children with biliary atresia, a liver disease that usually requires a liver transplant for the patient to survive.
President Duterte and Go have been sending the children abroad, usually in India, for the transplants.
“There are people coming to me asking for donations and raising funds. We have limits in the government, a lot of things are banned here, there, especially when you need to send them abroad to undergo operation. It’s hard to raise funds that’s why I said, let’s not burden patients. Let’s do whatever we can to improve our services,” he said in Filipino.
He likened the consortium with the Malasakit Center, which helps indigent patients receive financial and medical assistance from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
As what happened with the consortium, the President decided to establish Malasakit Centers upon the recommendation of Go, who consulted government officials and health practitioners.
“Apart from having a huge trust on our doctors, the most important thing here is, we don’t let families get left behind,” he said. “If operations are done here, we could seek help easily. We have Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), PCSO, PhilHealth, DOH and even the Office of the President can help.”
He also said that the consortium is a short-term solution to the growing cases of Filipino children with biliary atresia.
The proposed long-term solution, he said, is capacitating the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) by procuring the necessary equipment for it, improving its facilities and sending its specialists to Taiwan to be trained at the Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital.
“Hopefully these agreements, consortiums expand further, not just limited in liver transplants or biliary atresia patients but others as well,” he said. (PR)