BICOL-MAN

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Leagspi City: A medical tourism hub in the offing


Source: Eleanor A. Leyco | mb.com.ph

In a province like Bicol where tourism thrives, selling a product, idea, or gimmick is a no-brainer because people will always come to you. However, for Legazpi, Albay where Mayon Volcano majestically rests, getting into the minds of many vacationers seems to be a struggle.

Although Legazpi, Albay may have been known to be the home of one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world, the Department of Tourism didn’t include Legazpi in its top 10 tourist destinations due to low tourist traffic compared to its nearby district, Camarines Sur, which has better figures when it comes to the following of many thrill-seekers coming from different parts of the world.

Statistics show at least 140,000 sightseers visit the province annually, and multitudes of foreign spectators came to the city recently, because they wanted to see the fury of nature when Mayon Volcano showed volcanic activity for several weeks.

In view of this, a prime mover of business and healthcare in the Bicolandia Region recognizes the enormous potential of Legazpi to be known for more meaningful ventures and to be in the top 10 tourist destinations of the Philippines.

It all starts with a vision

“Though Legazpi is a growing city, the National Statistics Office records reveal that there is a need for better healthcare services. There are only seven hospitals in the city, six of which are privately owned and most of them can only occupy less than 100 beds. To address the other medical and health services of Legazpi and nearby towns, there are several diagnostic centers in the district,”observes Marivic Lualhati, project consultant for Suncore Inc., a privately-owned medical establishment in the heart of Legazpi City.

Suncore Inc. is a company that envisions Legazpi to be the heart of business, healthcare, and tourism in the Bicol Region. In fulfilling its vision for Legazpi, it has recently opened the first and fully-automated diagnostics and multi-specialty clinic in Albay.  It is also the first of its kind to be based inside one of the biggest shopping centers in the province, the Embarcadero Mall.

Lualhati adds, “Though there are several diagnostic centers in the city, demographical analysis revealed that most of the centers do not possess high-technology laboratory and diagnostics equipment for faster and more accurate results. It also showed that most doctors utilize their own homes as their clinic. This only suggests that there is really a need to uplift the health care system of Legazpi.”

Suncore Diagnostics and Multi-specialty Clinic envisions itself to be a one-stop-clinic by providing the best available health care as well as access to a medical facility that offers state-of-the art services not only to its locals but also to travelers who want to enjoy their vacation and at the same time grab the chance to avail of competitively-priced medical care.

During its soft opening, the clinic  presented the out-patient diagnostic services that are available in the center. These are: Dermatology, Pharmacy, Dental, EENT, Ophthalmology, Physical Rehabilitation, Cardiology Pulmonology, 4D Ultrasound, X-Ray, Laboratory, Urgent Care, Internal Medicine, Minor Surgery, OB Gynecology, and Pediatrics.

“Suncore Diagnostics and Multi-specialty Clinic is created to alleviate the health problems that beset the community and it aims to put Legazpi on the list of the top medical tourism hubs in the country.  When we say medical tourism we mean the provision of competitively- priced private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry,” Lualhati noted.

Keeping homegrown healthcare professionals

As the clinic completes all the important state-of-the-art equipment and roster of medical doctors and staff, it is working on getting an agreement with the Department of Tourism, presenting to them plans of putting up cosmetic surgery and eye center facilities, which are very popular among foreign tourists and balikbayans. In no time, HIV and drug testing facilities will also be installed.

“We are positioning Suncore in medical tourism because we believe that medical tourism is benefiting not only those coming from other parts of the world but also those who are from the nearby towns and provinces where certain medical facilities are not available at all. Suncore also wants to reach out to its people and doctors who are in need of improved medical facilities where they can carry out their professions better,” Lualhati explained.

“With all our plans and goals for the center, the people behind this company also want to support the local medical professionals in Legazpi. We want to keep the doctors and nurses in our town.  We have very good doctors and medical staff here and we want to support them.  They can have a better avenue to do their jobs and help more people,”  Lualhati concludes.

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