Puerto Princesa is composed of one main health center, 18 barangay health stations, three hospitals, and five satellite clinics. The hospitals in the city are 175-bed capacity: 75 for the government-owned Puerto Princesa Provincial Hospital, and 50 beds for the two privately-owned facilities. The five satellite clinics has a 4 to 5-bed capacity. It serves not only the residents of the city but also patients coming from the nearby municipalities of Palawan.
Before 1991, Puerto Princesa is spending around P6.5 million for health services, representing 7.5% of total expenditures. In 1994, city spending went up to P20.1 million but it only represented 5 percent. Basic spending for health services dropped to 74 percent of overall health expenditures with the development of satellite clinics offering medical services. From 1995 – 1997, the City Health Office and satellite clinics comprised 4.4 percent of the entire city budget.
As part of Puerto Princesa hospitals and health care, the satellite clinic project has the following objectives:
1.Make medicines and medical care accessible to rural residents
2.Reduce the rate of mortality in the rural areas
3.Decrease the rate of unnecessary suffering due to illness
The first satellite clinic was established on January 12, 1993. Currently, there are five situated at strategic areas in the far-flung rural areas with no means of getting health services. They provide medical and dental consultation, health education, and emergency response and rescue. For weak patients or those who require more observation or waiting for transport will be confined in the satellite clinics for a few days.
The satellite clinics are manned by a doctor who stays for a couple of days weekly. There is a dentist that drops by every couple of weeks. Likewise, standing by are two midwives, a radio operator, driver, and utility man.
It used to be that the people in the barangays did not have access to medical services. The minimum time of travel from the nearest barangay to Puerto Princesa, where most health services are accessible, is an hour. Aside from that, there are rough roads and the frequency of transportation is two times daily. As a result, many people do not seek medical care, resort to quack medicine, or visit doctors only when their sickness has already become worse. Sadly, others die without getting treated or while waiting for transport to take them to the hospital.
Thanks to the satellite clinics, the people of the barangays were able to have access to medical treatment. They were able to get emergency care and cure for simple illness. There are ambulances ready to transfer the patients to hospitals in case of serious and complicated sickness. They provided a crucial link to the referral system of Puerto Princesa.
In conclusion, the satellite clinics were able to address the failure of Puerto Princesa hospitals and health care to provide medical attention to its residents.