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DSWD gives indigents free medicine under 'Libreng Gamot' project with PGH

MANILA, March 1 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday began implementing the Office of the President’s “Libreng Gamot para sa Masa (Lingap sa Masa)”, a day after it signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on the free medicine program for indigent patients.

The DSWD's office in the National Capital Region, tasked to implement the program in the region, has already assigned a social worker and an administrative assistant to PGH to provide the assistance to indigent patients who need medicines, the department said in a news release.

Earlier in February, the DSWD also signed an agreement with the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City to provide free medicines to residents of the Central Visayas region.

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who signed the memorandum, said that the Lingap sa Masa program is an initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte to respond to the needs of poor Filipinos who cannot afford to buy medicine.

The President allocated PHP1 billion in medical assistance for indigent patients, to be sourced from the socio-civic projects fund of the Office of the President.

“Through this program, we will be able to help Filipinos in need of prescription medicines but do not have the funds to buy them. We are thankful to President Duterte for providing the funds,” she said.

”It is a show of great compassion for the poor, and while it is true that more needs to be done to assist poor Filipinos gain better access to health and medical services, this is a very good initiative and will go a long way towards helping many Filipinos.”

The memorandum signifies the start of the use and disbursement of the fund to assist the indigent patients of PGH, based on the guidelines set in DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 02.

Under the guidelines, Lingap sa Masa will be implemented by establishing desks at identified hospitals where patients who need prescription medicines will be assessed and provided assistance through the issuance of guarantee letters for the purchase of medicines from hospital pharmacies or from partner drug stores.

Lingap sa Masa will be distinct and separate from the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

The DSWD’s Protective Services Bureau (PSB), under the department’s Protective Services Program, will be the lead implementing office.

The program will benefit indigent Filipinos who are either confined in or receiving outpatient treatment from identified hospitals and who need prescription medicines. Priority, however, will be given to families or individuals who are indigent, vulnerable, or disadvantaged; those in the informal sector and poor based on the DSWD Listahanan; those who are in crisis situations based on the assessment of social workers; government employees and contract of service workers in the government; and beneficiaries of soldiers and police who were killed or wounded in the line of duty.

Those who want to avail of the program should provide a valid ID. If the patient has a representative, the latter should present a valid ID and a written authorization signed by the patient.

Proof of indigency must also be presented, but documentary requirement showing proof is not limited to a Barangay Certificate or Certification issued by the medical social service.

Certified true copies must be certified by either the DSWD social worker assigned to the hospital; the office that issued the document; or the officer who signed the document.

Another important requirement is the doctor’s prescription which should have been issued in the past three months. This should indicate the date and the name of the patient, and the document should be signed by the attending physician, with his/her license number and contact details.(PNA)
CVL/DSWD-PR/LSJ/EDS
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