Surgical Service Beyond Boundaries
By: Karenology

   SNEP IN CARAGAThe Davao Regional Medical Center (formerly Davao Regional Hospital) – Surgical Networking Extension Program (SNEP) that started in 1989 has revolutionized the medical sphere in Region XI under the innovative leadership of the former Medical Center Chief, Dr. Romulo A. Busuego.


SNEP is a service concept described as dismantling the hospital and setting it up in remote   barangays especially in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), to provide advanced healthcare services to these underserved areas. While surgical outreach is a popular strategy long adopted by both government and private hospitals and practitioners, these activities were always conducted within a hospital set-up. Thus, for most health professionals, it was unimaginable to ever consider performing medium and major surgeries outside the hospital’s operating room much less in communities that are far from a competent referral hospital.


The deteriorating bus from the Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office, which used to serve as the travelling X-ray bus was renovated to house a fully functional operating room. With a novel design, the bus was practically turned into an impressive mobile operating room, equipped with all necessary equipment and fixtures of a standard hospital based operating room. The SNEP is the first of its kind and the most awarded service in the Philippines where elective medium and major surgeries can be performed in a mobile bus.

While the government has exerted effort in providing infrastructure support to make health facility available there are other concerns that have to be met in order to materialize the intent of establishing the health care facility specifically in GIDA areas;

  • Human Resource

– The available service capability in the existing hospital in the rural areas is only for basic consultations which are no different to services rendered in Barangay Health Centers. Specialties such as Surgery, Obstetrics, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics and the likes are not available to serve the community as intended them to be

– Unavailability of competent paramedical and allied health staff

  • Unavailability of the following:
    – Medical equipment such as Operating room lights, anesthesia machines, electro cauteries, patient monitors, pulse oximeter among other things
    – Medicines and Medical Supplies
    – Laboratory, Diagnostics including blood services
    – Power supply

 Over the years, these were the gaps identified and addressed by SNEP making its services available and accessible beyond boundaries.

The initial sites for the program started at the district hospitals of Madrid in Surigao Del Sur, Pantukan and Montevista in Davao Province, and private hospitals in Malita, Davao del Sur. Since then, there have been 17,000 surgical cases performed by the DRMC SNEP which have saved the served institutions P20 Million worth of surgical expenses.

 Dr. Busuego’s SNEP which he founded 27 years ago has many stories of hope from people who have less in life across the provinces served and with the DRMC’s new Medical Center Chief, Dr. Bryan O. Dalid, the Surgical Networking Extension Program will continually touching and changing lives and bridging the gap between hospital and the people.

 snep in caraga

                                                                        SNEP IN CARAGA September 2015