CEBU – The Department of Health (DOH) launched its first “Botika ng Bayan” (BNB) San Remigio town in Cebu which is aimed at helping poor families avail of essential medicines for free.
DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana congratulated the San Remigio Municipal Health Office for meeting the requirements set for the establishment of a Botika ng Bayan. “We would like to commend our municipal health officer Dr. (Urleta) Ursal and her team, the Cebu province, and the municipality of San Remigio for really making BNB a success. You were the first to comply with all the standard requirements set by our Pharmacy Division in Central Visayas for creating BNB,” she said.
Laxamana said the Botika ng Bayan in San Remegio is the third to be established in the country when the DOH revived the BNB program. The first BNB in Luzon was launched in San Mariano town in Isabela province on July 13, while the second was launched in Davao City for Mindanao. San Mariano town in Davao, and San Remigio which are the three pilot sites for the revival of the program.
The BNB will provide access to free essential medicines for common diseases in the community, such as infections, skin ailments, asthma, and chronic non-communicable diseases – targeting indigents and the marginalized sectors of the population.
Formerly Botika ng Barangay, BNB was temporarily stopped in 2011 because of insufficient supplies of medicine and lack of supervising pharmacists. Laxamana assured that the revived BNB will provide free medicines to the public.
“Every month, we will have an inventory, which Rural Health Units will forward to the regional offices. We will ensure that there will always be sufficient supply of medicines in the BNB. I assure you that free medicines will be available anytime of the day, 24/7,” she said.
According to the DOH, the new BNB will not just provide medicines but there will also be licensed pharmacists and trained pharmacy assistants who will educate and counsel the patients about their medications.
Patients who wish to avail of the free medicines from BNB must first consult with the RHU or a private doctor and bring their prescription to the BNB. San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez, meanwhile, clarified that the BNB is for residents of the town only, and encouraged other local governments to comply with the requirements and put up their own BNBs.
To create their own BNBs, a local government should have a license to run a pharmacy, sufficient and air-conditioned space for the medicines, and a licensed pharmacist. (Luel Galarpe and Bebie Jane Casipong)
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