DOH-MMIMAROPA launches 24/7 air ambulance

The Department of Health – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) on March 15, formally launched its air ambulance to provide transport of patients from the scene of an emergency to the nearest healthcare facility.

“This is the most effective and quickest response in saving a patient’s life, especially those who reside in remote and hard to reach areas.

Critical patients and emergency cases needing immediate care can be transported right away to the nearest health facility without difficulty”, Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated during the launching ceremony held at the Puerto Princesa City Airport in Palawan.

“Most of the places in MIMAROPA are not accessible to regular ambulance services due of its geographically situated island provinces.

Some of these areas are remotely located and can’t be reached quickly by health workers, medical personnel, and regular ambulance services.

Patients can only be acquired through air transport,” he emphasized.

The air ambulance will be provided by the Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, Incorporated (PAMAS) through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DOH-MIMAROPA with the objective of transporting patients by air from an area with a limited medical facility to an area where an adequate medical care is available.

It is equipped with first aid medical equipment and manned by a paramedic to provide immediate care.

PAMAS is a faith-based, volunteer-driven organization that spreads the Gospel to the Philippines through the use of an aviation and medical ministry. PAMAS is a non-stock, non-profit, SEC registered Corporation in the Philippines.

Two (2) aircraft will serve as an air ambulance to cater patients namely, a Cessna 206 (six seater) and a Robinson R44 Helicopter (4 seaters).

“It can accommodate non-ambulatory and ambulatory patients. “If needed, transport of patients from MIMAROPA provinces will be transported to DOH tertiary hospitals in Metro Manila which will take approximately 1 ½ hour or less. The air ambulance service will cater to indigent patients and indigenous communities,” he added.

“Time is vital in saving a life. Even a fraction of a second delay may cost a patient’s life. And this is one of the advantages of an air transport because it includes providing a higher level of care from the scene of trauma to community hospitals”, he emphasized.

There will be Off-site Landing Zones (LZ) in every province designated for emergency medical evacuation for identified hospitals. Ground ambulance transfer to and from the LZ from the originating hospital to the destination tertiary hospitals will be duly coordinated as well.

A 24/7 emergency unit will be established in every DOH provincial office. For Palawan, emergency numbers that can be contacted are (0998) 5492585 for Smart and (0917) 533-1651 for Globe.

“Slowly and surely we will be providing the essential and necessary equipment and medical services to the heart of the Philippines – that is MIMAROPA. These are the health needs of the people and we will not fail the more than three million citizens who are constantly anticipating for progress and development in their health care delivery system.” Janairo concluded. (PIA/DOH)