Posted By: Dalibor Tasevski, M.D. on January 31, 2014

Labels: The Philippines , Disaster-Relief, Humanitarian Aid

The Cebu City Medical Center is now making due in the local fire department

Three weeks before Typhoon Yolanda had its huge impact in the Philippine islands, there was an earthquake in the island of Cebu (epicenter in Bohol) in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines.

The 2013 Bohol earthquake occurred on October 15, 2013, at 8:12 AM.  The magnitude of the earthquake at the epicenter was recorded at Mw 7.2, at a depth of 12 kilometers (7.5 mi).  It affected the whole Central Visayas region, particularly Bohol and Cebu. The quake was felt in the whole Visayas area and as far as Masbate Island in the north and Cotabato provinces in southern Mindanao.

According to official reports by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 222 were reported dead, 8 were missing, and 976 people were injured due to this earthquake. In all, more than 73,000 structures were damaged, of which more than 14,500 were totally destroyed.

It was the deadliest earthquake in the Philippines in 23 years. The energy of the quake released was equivalent to 32 Hiroshima bombs.

The Cebu City Medical Center is now making due in the local fire department

The Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) is a hospital with more than 300 beds and a history of more than 50 years working successfully and accepting patients from every part of the island.
This institution was heavily damaged by the earthquake, and all of the patients there were displaced on the street in fear of aftershocks. The hospital is in no condition now to have patients or continue with normal medical activities.  Here is a link to a short video on YouTube after the earthquake:

The Philippines Department of Health decided to move the patients and equipment to the nearest fire department, which does not fit the size requirements at all. The patients and equipment were moved to improvised areas of the fire department, most of them in tents outside the building.  Just as the hospital started hearing that help was on the way, Yolanda happened. The focus of the government, agencies and organizations turned to another direction, and the hospital was left on its own.  Not only was the hospital forgotten by the health authorities, but a number of Yolanda victims were sent there for treatment.

The Cebu City Medical Center is now making due in the local fire department

The government started a campaign to raze the old hospital and build a new one.  However, the estimated budget was too big and there are a lot of financial and technical problems. They even started an initiative for collecting money from civilians by putting empty water gallons all over the city.

It is estimated that the new hospital will be built for another two years. This means that the medical personnel will have to work in the worst conditions I have ever seen. I was especially amazed by the delivery room and the pediatrics ward, which is actually a huge tent (donated by Red Cross where most of the beds accommodate three kids each, with their mothers all around them. The heat and the smell are unbearable.  The delivery beds are so old that they are not usable.

The Cebu City Medical Center is now making due in the local fire department

And the latest issue that has occurred is that the hospital is now in conflict with the fire department because they want their building back.

When we heard about this hospital from the Department of Health, we decided to give a portion of the last shipment of donated medicines and supplies to it.  That way the hospital’s staff can continue their normal work to a certain extent, until they are able to go back to their old building. The Project HOPE team delivered more than 150,000 USD-worth of high quality medicines and consumable disposable materials.  During the delivery we obliged ourselves to try to help them as much as possible in the upcoming period. The manager of the hospital will send us a list of priorities and needs in the form of medicines, supplies, equipment, ventilators, beds, etc.


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