Sebaste Lying-In Clinic
The nearest secondary hospital from Sebaste, a 6th class municipality in the province of Antique in Western Visayas, was 20 kilometers away. In many instances, the residents had to transport their sick all the way to Kalibo, the capital town of Aklan, 75 kilometers away. The mode of transport was difficult, as roads were not paved and in the early afternoon, public buses no longer plied the route. During emergency situations the residents had to hire vehicles ranging from P5OO to P1,000 to bring their sick to the hospital.
Even in the absence of any external funding, the local government of Sebaste decided to address the problem decisively. The Health Center was transformed into the Sebaste Community Clinic, with a 10-bed capacity. Starting in 1994, the local government allocated the major bulk of the 20% Development Fund from its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the clinic. A good number of Sebaste natives gainfully employed in German and Austrian hospitals abroad were tapped through several trips by the mayor to these countries. They formally organized themselves with the commitment to support the clinic. Since then, they consistently sent hospital equipment, supplies and medicines that would easily cost more than a million pesos if monetized. The clinic entered into an agreement with a private firm which operated a well-stocked and modern laboratory and received 10% from its income. The clinic also entered into agreement with a local dentist who put up a modern dental office providing the only dental care in Sebaste. Another physician, a native of Sebaste, and additional personnel were hired, making it possible for the clinic 10 operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With the clinic operating like a small hospital. It facilitated access to affordable and quality health care, and early medical intervention for Sebaste's residents. The sustainability of the clinic operations is well assured by the following: a) a trust fund was set up with a target of P3 million. The interest generated from the fund is estimated as sufficient to operate the clinic thereby, weaning it away from the municipality's financial assistance. As of January 1998, the fund was already around P1,135,000; b) the institutionalized support of Barangay and Youth Councils to allocate 10% of their IRA Development fund for the clinic; c) an active Local Health Board, with an expanded composition to widen participation from other sectors: d) the continued support of foreign NGOs; and d) the clinic's track record of providing efficient health care at cheapest rates have already built-up a loyal patronage among Sebaste’s residents, and those from the neighboring municipalities.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1998 Galing Pook Awards.