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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Saturday, June 27, 2020
Gov. Gwen Garcia shared that the Cebu Provincial Government will soon institutionalize the traditional and alternative ways of healthcare and create a board to implement RA 8423. (Lito Tecson)

Traditional and alternative ways of healing will soon be institutionalized in Cebu Province as Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is set to form a board to implement Republic Act (RA) 8423.

This law, authored by the late Health Secretary Juan Flavier and signed by then President Fidel Ramos in 1997, created the Philippine Institute in Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) to push for the development of traditional and alternative health care in areas where medical services are not immediately available.

In line with this, 16,000 barangay health workers in Cebu's 44 towns and 7 cities will undergo training under the direction of the Provincial Traditional Health Care System (PTHCS) that will soon be created based on the composition recommended by PITAHC.

"Well, we do not live in an ideal world. Kay kon ideal pa ni naa unta tay Level 1 hangtod Level 3 doctors sa matag barangay. Maong himuon ta ni. Ang atong over 16,000 barangay health workers atong ipa-training on delivery of alternative healthcare," Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.

With this, residents in remote and island barangays of the Province will benefit from the traditional and alternative ways of recovering from different illnesses, such as steam inhalation.

Earlier, PITAHC issued a statement recognizing that steam inhalation or "tuob" is "indeed effective against symptoms of colds" as suggested by scientific studies.

The agency also expressed support on the use of "tuob" to alleviate the symptoms of respiratory illness found among Covid-19 patients saying that it is a "safe remedy if done properly." It also suggested measures for the "beneficial use of tuob."

“In a third world country, where resources are limited and accessibility and availability of health care services are areas of concern, traditional and alternative practices are the only affordable and available source of health care,” the PITAHC statement read.

"We have to consider existing realities. Maayo man kon tanan maka-afford og hospital care dayon. Naa may mga tua nagpuyo sa isla sama aning Lipayran nga wala'y doktor," Garcia added.

Cebu's PTHCS will be composed of the line agencies such as the departments of science and technology, environment and natural resources, agriculture, education, health, as well as the Commission on Higher Education as chairpersons.

The board members will include biomedical and environmental health experts, academicians or researchers, natural food experts, physicians, and traditional medicine experts, among others.

The governor added that an ordinance will be created for this.

Meanwhile, Cebu provincial hospitals are already equipped with oximeters to further enhance the monitoring of Covid-19 patients based on a recommendation of Dr. Edgar Tan of the Philippine Society of Cardiologists - Cebu Chapter.

An oximeter is an instrument that measures the proportion of oxygenated hemoglobin in the blood.

Garcia said Dr. Tan pointed out that monitoring of oxygen level is vital to healthcare management of patients.

"Kini man gud nga disease (Covid-19) according to Dr. Tan kalitan na lang ka. You're up and about unya kalitan na lang ka miubos na imong oxygen level," she added. (Eleanor Valeros)