Butuan - Hospitals and Health Care

As far as health care in Butuan City is concerned, there are 27 urban barangay health stations (BHSs), three principal health centers, and 59 rural barangay health stations (BHSs). There are two government hospitals namely the City General Hospital and Medical Center, which has a 150-bed capacity, and the Provincial Hospital of Agusan del Norte, with a 100-bed capacity. The six private hospitals in Butuan City have an overall capacity of 521 beds. Health care in Butuan is extended not only to the patients from the city but also from other municipalities.

In 1991, the health expenditures of the city were worth P12.3 million. The amount comprised 10 percent of its overall expenditures. From the total amount, 34 percent was allotted for basic health services and 66 percent for establishment of hospitals. Three years later, health expenses went up to 27.5 million which constituted 10 percent of Butuans total expenditures. The total allotment for basic health went up to 43 percent while hospital expenses decreased to 55 percent.

In 1995, the citys allocation for health was P29.1 million representing 8 percent of the overall budget. Hospital allocation was at 54 percent as compared to 46 percent allotment for health, miscellaneous health services, and nutrition.

In 1990 and 1995, health care in Butuan reflected a decrease in infant and child mortality which was lower than the national average during those years. The maternal mortality rates, while declining, was better than the national averages during those years. Aside from that, malnutrition in Butuan dropped significantly in 1990 and 1995 at 58 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Health care in Butuan focused on nutrition activities designed to address malnutrition in the city. The activities include food assistance, nutrition education, livelihood credit assistance, micro-nutrients supplementation, to name a few. The Butuan Nutrition Committee, which is headed by the mayor, conducts meetings once in a quarter. Several government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Education (DepEd) play an active role in the health care efforts of the City Government of Butuan.

The DILG is tasked with reactivating the various barangay nutrition committees. DepEd, on the other hand, is in-charge of nutrition education using the teacher-child-parent (TCP) approach. The City Health Office is responsible for rehabilitating malnourished children as well as supplementation of micro-nutrients. The City Social Welfare and Development is charged with providing the livelihood funds of families with malnutrition.

Health care in Butuan likewise involves the Office of the City Agriculturist which handles food production and security. The Budget Allocation Office takes care of funding the program while the Philippine Information Agency Assistance is responsible for disseminating information about nutrition.

Civic organizations like the Lions Club and Catholic Womens League are involved in health care in Butuan as well. The former is charged with the training of barangay nutrition scholars on the aspect of Vitamin A deficiency and detection of eye cataract. The latter is responsible for feeding the handicapped, inmates, and hospitalized children.

Butuan has its own City Nutrition Office (CNO). It is headed by the City Nutrition Officer. CNO functions as the Secretariat of the Butuan Nutrition Committee as well as coordinator for all nutrition-related activities. The CNO is composed of a couple of assistant nutritionists handling 43 barangays. There is a feeding center and a barangay nutrition scholar (BNS) for each. The BNS has a monthly salary of P400 plus an additional allowance from the barangay.

The barangays are divided into 10 clusters which conducts meetings once every month. During the meeting, the different BNSs discuss their plans, program implementation, and problems.