DEPARTMENT OF PEDIATRICS
The Department of Pediatrics began accepting medical interns for training. In line with the Department of Health program of promoting good nutrition, a Malnutrition ward was established with an initial 6 beds. The Outpatient Department was improved with the establishment of the Under 6 Clinic affording comprehensive Maternal and Child Health care services such as: Well Baby, Immunization, Family Planning, Nutrition Education, Pre-Natal and Perinatal care. Although the Department of Pediatrics was handicapped by the lack of qualified Diplomates and Fellows, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was informally set-up to utilize newly acquired equipments such as the incubators and respirator; and an improvised bililight was designed for use by the increasing numbers of jaundiced infants. The perennial lack of subspecialists to train younger doctors became the impetus to send deserving resident physicians to accredited training hospitals in Manila under the Parallel Residency Training Program. The past Heads and Chairpersons of the Department of Pediatrics are as follows respectively Dr. William Sales, Dr. Stella delos Santos, Dr. Zenaida Siazon, Dr. Ma. Louella Sangalang, Dr. Minerva Mallillin and Dr Geraldine Ramirez, Dr. Ma. Louella A. Sangalang is currently its chairperson.
In the early ‘90s, the Department of Pediatrics gained I-A accreditation after being visited by the team of Dr. Hermogenes Purugganan, Dr. Xerxes Navarro and Dr. Wilberto Lopez. However, this was not maintained due to non-compliance with minimum requirements. As more of the Pediatric residency graduates from accredited training programs in Manila were coming back, the Department became revitalized. In 1996, I-A status was regained after the visitation conducted by then PPS President Dr. Mary Chua. After thorough assessment of the Department, recommendations were made regarding its organizational set-up and manpower for improvement of services. Within two years, the next PPS President visited. Dr. Zenaida Antonio noted the compliance with previous HAB recommendations, thus I-B accreditation was granted. The department staff was likewise assured that it was well on its way to eventual approval for II-A status. By this time, there was active recruitment for a board-certified Neonatologist and Pediatric Surgeon.
Dr. Carmelo Alfiler came to visit in his capacity as the new PPS President and again commended the Department’s improved facilities, the increase in Pediatric Resident staff and Consultant staff. Although it was difficult to invite the required subspecialists, great effort was made to bring them over from Region I, being the geographically closest sources. The same accreditation status was maintained, realizing that it was just a matter of time that other subspecialists would join the department. It was with buoyed hopes that new arrivals from Manila would venture into Cagayan to provide the needed consultant staff support. During the term of Dr. Joel Elises, the HAB members however, were not able to visit despite repeated requests from the department. In the meantime, all efforts were channeled to maintaining the strengths and improving the department’s other features, in the hopes of attaining the last crucial step – IIB accreditation – to enable young homegrown pediatricians to take specialty examinations, and contributing back their services into the community.
It is worth noting at this point that with the advent of the healthcare crisis in our midst – that of nurses leaving for foreign shores in droves, and of young doctors career – shifting into nursing and then leaving – the CVMC as a major medical center in the very far north has its share of concerns as it has not been spared of this global Diaspora. Before, it has been increasingly difficult to attract young doctors to train in all the specialty areas, and it becomes doubly so if the department cannot assure those who come to train that they may be eligible to sit for PPS examinations in the future.
Finally, the dream of acquiring the elusive Phase II-B accreditation became a realization when the team of accreditors led by the same team of Drs. Purugganan, Navarro and Lopez visited our department last June 2005 after a thorough evaluation of our facilities and pediatric staff.