By Chito Chavez
To erase the stigma of being left out, the Quezon City Council has passed an ordinance that offers free clinical laboratory services to the city’s poor residents.
Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said Ordinance SP-2686, S-2018 or the “Quezon City Clinical Laboratory Ordinance” is the city government’s response to the lack of access of poor residents to free and quality health services.
“Clinical laboratory services in private clinics and hospitals are usually expensive. So we thought of putting up our own laboratories in our public health centers for our indigents,” Belmonte said.
Belmonte cited that laboratory tests such as urinalysis, hematology and Complete Blood Count (CBC) are important in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.
She added that job applicants are also required to take such medical tests at their own expense as part of their preemployment medical examination.
The city-operated clinical laboratory services, Belmonte said, “will contribute to maximizing interventions to improve the health and quality of life” of every city resident.
Authored by councilors Julienne Alyson Rae Medalla (5th district) and Diorella Maria Sotto (6th District), Ordinance SP-2686, S-2018 authorizes the city government to appropriate funds for the establishment of clinical laboratories in all community health centers in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Health (DOH) and other national agencies.
The clinical laboratories shall provide the following services: hematology such as CBC, Platelet Count and Hemoglobin. Clinical Microscopy such as urinalysis and fecalysis; Serology and Immunohematology that includes RPR, HbsAg, and HIV test, Clinical Chemistry such as Blood Uric Acid, BUN, and Creatinine and Electrolyte Tests like Chloride, Potassium, Sodium, and Calcium.
Under the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD), each barangay laboratory shall be managed and supervised by a chief medical technologist while technical operations will be overseen by a clinical pathologist.
The laboratory services will be provided for free to city-sponsored indigent residents as certified by the Social Services and Development Department (SSWD) and also to elected barangay officials and workers, Day Care Center teachers, and community health workers.
All teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education-Schools Division Office Quezon City are also exempted from paying the service fees, according to the ordinance.
On the other hand, a 30 percent discount on laboratory package services will be granted to registered senior citizens, solo parents, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) and 20 percent to permanent City Hall employees and their dependents.