Members of GABRIELA in Caloocan City and Valenzuela City today spearheaded an action at the gates of the Tala Hospital in Caloocan City to reiterate their stand against privatization of health services in the public hospital. They took the opportunity today, International Day of Action for Women’s Health to demand better and free health care services for women.
Together with members of Bantay Kalusugan, a coalition of organizations against privatization of public health services, they held a picket outside the Tala hospital while their leaders engaged Health Secretary Janet Garin, who was at the hospital’s 75th anniversary celebration.
According to Gert Ranjo-Libang, Vice Chairperson of GABRIELA, Tala Hospital has been known to “detain” patients who are unable to pay for their hospital bills fully. “Many cases of ‘hospital detention’ involved women who gave birth because the hospital issued a memo charging childbirth and other related services and prohibiting them from seeking discount from the social welfare desk of the hospital.”
Ranjo-Libang said that such practice is detrimental to women’s health and runs counter to the reproductive health law “which the Aquino government is so proud of”. “Reproductive health care will remain mere lip service as long as privatization of health care remains as a national policy.” It is also against the law prohibiting the detention of patients due to nonpayment of bills.
Other demands include: free consultation at the Out-patient Department and Emergency Room; lower fees for laboratory and medicines; and set up facilities for a blood bank and morgue within the hospital.
Yesterday, GABRIELA – Quezon City held a dialogue with Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte regarding the city ordinance penalizing home birthing in the Quezon City. They also highlighted the issue of inaccessible health services for women as the main factor in maternal and neo-natal mortality and the main reason for home childbirth.
“If the national and local governments are serious in caring for women’s health, they have only to provide accessible and affordable if not free services for pre-natal and post-natal check ups, childbirth and other health services for women,” Ranjo-Libang ended. ###
Reference: Gert Ranjo-Libang, Vice Chairperson, 0925 3005211/Public Info Desk, 3712302