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DOH-Calabarzon’s 2nd community drugstore opens in Mauban

MAUBAN, Quezon – Department of Health (DOH) Calabarzon regional officials opened Tuesday the second “Botika ng Bayan” (BnB) in the region after forging a memorandum of agreement with local government executives at the town hall here.

The first BnB was launched in the municipality of San Pascual, Batangas, making the Calabarzon regional health office the sixth region in the country, which began implementation of the BnB program in partnership with the local government units (LGUs).

“Ang pagtatayo ng mga BnB ay kasama sa Universal Health Care. Inuunahan lang natin ang pagsasakatuparan ng programa upang mabigyan agad ng tulong pangkalusugan ang ating mga kababayan (the establishment of the BnB is part of the Universal Health Care. We only advance the implementation of the program in order to immediately provide health services to our constituents),” said Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo, DOH Calabarzon regional director at the opening rites.

Janairo said the BnB program is in pursuit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive on the revival of the community, or village-based pharmacy, under the government’s universal health care that is inclusive and gives poor patients and indigent constituents access to essential medicines.

“Sabi ng ating Presidente Duterte, ang mga maysakit ay huwag ng pahirapan pa lalo na sa paghahanap at pagbili ng kanilang mga gamot at upang matugunan ang mga pangangailang ng ating kababayan sa kanilang maintenance medicines. Dahil lahat ng ito ay makukuha ng libre sa ating mga botika ng bayan, reseta lang ang kailangan (The President has directed to help the patients and relieve them the burden especially from sourcing out and buying medicines, and to attend to their needs especially on their maintenance medicines. All of these are provided for free at our botika ng bayan, and a prescription is only required),” he emphasized.

The rebirth of the BnB Program is one of the government’s thrusts to provide free essential medicines for common diseases in the community, targeting indigents and the marginalized sectors of the population.

The community-based “Botika” (pharmacy) aims to provide all 2,600 rural health units (RHUs) and other government centers Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-licensed BnB outlets that will offer quality outpatient pharmacy services by 2022.

According to Helen C. Jariel, DOH Pharmacist III and BnB Regional Coordinator, the program was launched in 2001 and was provisionally stopped in 2011.

The temporary setback was due to issues on the lack of supervising pharmacists and an effective supply chain that could assure the availability of quality generic medicines in some 16,000 government-run community pharmacies established from 2001 to 2010.

Jariel said that under the new BnB program, more essential medicines will be available, such as those for common diseases like cough and cold, influenza, skin infections, asthma and chronic non-communicable diseases - including mental health medicines.

Among the medicines in the BnB outlets are paracetamol, antibiotics, topical ointments, anti-thrombotic, anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, anthelmintic, oral hypoglycemic, vitamins, micronutrients, antacids and other essential drugs for asthma, hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia, and even for family planning.

The DOH regional director also assured to expand the BnB program across the Calabarzon provinces of Cavite, Laguna. Batangas, Rizal and Quezon, with the outlets also offering traditional complimentary alternative medicines.

“Maglalagay din tayo ng mga traditional complimentary alternative medicines gaya ng mga “turmeric”, “serpentina”, “ginko biloba” at mga halamang gamot na nilagay sa mga tableta at capsule, dito natin lahat ipapasok sa Botika ng Bayan (we will also put traditional complimentary alternative medicines like “turmeric”, “serpentina”, “ginko biloba” and many other herbal medicines in either tablet or capsule form, which could be made available at the Botika ng Bayan),” Janiaro said. (Gideon Belen/PNA)