MANILA, PHILIPPINES — It took all of 27 days from the time construction started on April 2020 to set up the Complex of Hope, the originally 12-bed dedicated facility for COVID-19 patients of The Medical City South Luzon in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
“This was built from donations from various stakeholders in our community. The bayanihan spirit really kicked in,” said Dr. Jose Enrico Juliano, Chief Operating Officer of TMC South Luzon. “A group donated container vans. Some people lent us vehicles so our staff can be shuttled without fear of being exposed to the virus. There was even a group that gave siopao to our frontliners.”
Now more than ever, the facility takes pride in fostering good relationships not only with the community but also with its business partners. “We are also lucky to have a perfect relationship with Meralco,” Juliano added. “We can always count on them for our power supply—anticipating contingencies and preparing for both natural and man-made disasters.”
Going beyond hospital premises
Throughout the year, TMC South Luzon continued to keep alive the spirit of bayanihan through a series of goodwill activities, including a fundraiser for typhoon victims, a Christmas gift-giving program for kids, a community outreach program that marked the launch of the hospital’s mobile clinic, and a drive-thru vaccination drive for frontliners and the private sector, just to name a few.
For the vaccination rollout, the hospital enlisted the help of the local government unit of the City of Santa Rosa, along with countless frontliners and volunteers, from doctors and nurses to the administration staffers. As of this writing, the hospital was able to administer 7,797 doses—a massive achievement considering the program’s humble roots.
A delicate balancing act
If the recent spike in new cases is any indication, it appears there’s a growing need for a steady supply of electricity to power up, quite literally, life-saving efforts of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare frontliners.
“We have not experienced any fluctuations in the past year. We readied our generators just in case we needed to use them, but we’ve never had to since the pandemic started. And God willing, we will never need to use them,” shares Juliano.
That said, as crucial it is to keep the lights on during this critical time, TMC South Luzon also took steps to improve its consumption of electricity, with an eye on sustainability.
“We partnered with MSERV for our energy solutions even before the pandemic started, to help us comply with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act. But it’s not just a matter of complying—conserving energy also helps the hospital. When MSERV came into the picture, we no longer had problems [related to energy solutions]. They really took care of us,” Juliano revealed. MSERV is a fully-owned subsidiary of Meralco and one of the largest electromechanical contractors in the Philippines.
“During the pandemic, we had to put sensors on our motorized pumps to closely monitor whether our HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) was consuming electricity efficiently. Our air exchange had to be 12 times an hour—that’s the standard to ensure proper ventilation to avoid transmission indoors,” he explained.
It was a delicate balancing act for the hospital, as more patients meant higher power consumption, and the comfort and safety of patients came first.
“What’s really important to us is that it’s there—24/7 reliable electricity—especially with our situation right now. We have to turn on the lights, turn on the air conditioning. We have to turn on power, but use it efficiently at the same time.”
‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’
With an agile and innovative culture, TMC South Luzon is continuously expanding the Complex of Hope to increase its bed capacity to 40 and for the facility to have its own molecular laboratory. Constructing a permanent building for infectious diseases is also in the pipeline.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe. Until it happens, we will continue to do what we do,” Juliano concluded.