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Friday, December 9, 2011

QC APPROVES ORDINANCE ON BIRTHING OPERATIONS

To check the legitimacy of birthing homes in Quezon City, whether public or private, the city government is now making it mandatory for these clinics, before opening, to secure local licensing requirements to protect would-be clients against any form of medical malpractice.

And, to ensure compliance, the city health department and the business permits and licensing office have been directed to conduct periodic inspection of these clinics. Their compliance with the city’s licensing requirements shall also serve as requirement in securing accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) as provided under Republic Act 4226 or the Hospital Licensure Act.

Under the newly-approved QC Birthing Homes Regulatory Ordinance, failure of the owner to secure the necessary business permit shall mean immediate issuance of cease and desist orders from the city government.

For non-accreditation with Philhealth, the ordinance imposes a fine of P5,000 in cases where operators of birthing homes fail to secure permit to operate within 30 days from receipt of notice from the business permits and licensing office and the city health department.

The city may also issue temporary closure orders to violators until compliance with the city’s licensing requirements has been made.

Should there be non-compliance with the minimum required equipment and facilities, the city imposes a fine of P5,000 should operator of the birthing clinic fails to make the proper installation of the required medical facilities within 30 days from receipt of first notice from the city health department.

Meanwhile, the ordinance also penalizes clinics that refuse to admit birthing mothers without any valid reason. Fines to be imposed range from P1,000 to P5,000. Aside from the penal provision, the ordinance also imposes closure orders that may range from one week to one month. For more than five instances of verified reports of violation, the city may issue to the violator a permanent closure order.

The ordinance also considers a violation the failure of birthing homes to undertake the required new born screening test, BCG (except for newborns delivered by pregnant women with untreated pulmonary tuberculosis) and Hepatitis B birth dose immunization despite non-waiver by the birthing mother and her spouse or the biological father of the newborn.

Principally authored by Councilor Jessica Castelo Daza, the ordinance regulating the operations of birthing homes in QC highlights the city government’s continuing commitment to promote higher standards of maternal obstetrics health care, which has been included in the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations in an effort to end poverty.

“It is imperative for the city government to devise means in order for birthing mothers to have easy to access to affordable but safe birthing homes in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality,” Daza said.

As indicated in the city’s poverty profile, about 1.8% of women in QC die each year from childbirth and other pregnancy related causes, prompting the city government, under the administration of Mayor Herbert Bautista, to launch efforts to strengthen the delivery of maternal health care services, which include, among others, compliance to four pre-natal visits, provision of tetanus toxoid, laboratory screening, micronutrient supplementation, nutrition assessment and breastfeeding education.

Expansion of the city health network was provided for in the 2011 budget for the construction of the Novaliches super health center; health centers in Payatas B, Kamuning and Bagbag; as well as Sentrong Sigla centers in Escopa, Maligaya, Pinyahan, Toro Hills, Napocor area and Doña Nicasia.

“We should also take advantage of maximizing the services and facilities of our city health centers to address the medical needs of our constituents, especially from QC’s underprivileged communities,” the Mayor said. Precy/Ej/Maureen Quiñones, PAISO

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