Region 8 to have its own COVID-19 lab
TACLOBAN CITY: Region 8 will soon have its own laboratory capable of detecting Covid-19 at EVRMC along Magsaysay Blvd, Tacloban City.
Department of Health Eastern Visayas Regional Director Minerva Molon disclosed the establishment of the lab is being worked out through the collaborative and collective effort of the DOH-Eastern Visayas, Office of Majority Floor Leader Rep. Martin Romualdez, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), Tingog Party-list, Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET), the Province of Leyte for the use of the building and lot, and other agencies.
Molon said she is happy with the progress in the testing accreditation process.
Molon bared that the Proposed Regional COVID-19 Test Center has completed its self-assessment and risk assessment.
About 80% of safety infrastructure requirements are done and 90% of the machines needed are available. The RT-PCR machine is also for delivery.
DOH-8 is awaiting for the assessment team from DOH-Central, WHO and RITM to conduct an on-site visit to check the correctness of self-assessment.
“We are ready for 3rd stage laboratory accreditation,” Dir. Molon said. “We are also working for the signing of MOA with Leyte Province for the use of the building,” Molon added.
Molon said one of the strategies of the Department of Health to combat COVId-19 is the establishment of subnational laboratories nationwide.
Eastern Visayas region does not have a specialized molecular biology laboratory capable of performing biohazard tests like the COVID-19.
Molon added that confirmatory testing for COVID-19 requires Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR tests detects the actual presence of the virus. It determines if an individual is positive with the virus even when he/she is asymptomatic. Hence, it is the gold standard in testing for COVID-19.
“There are available conventional PCR in the region but not for COVID laboratory RT-PCR,” Molon said. “This is a highly technical process that not only involves having the kits and the right machine, but also the proper safety infrastructure like a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2), standard operating procedures for emergencies and highly trained staff on biohazard safety.”
The strict compliance to the requirements is of utmost importance because this will safeguard the welfare of those who work inside the laboratory and the surrounding community where the laboratory is situated.
“We would like also to thank An Waray Party-list for donating two air condition units, Leyte National High School and St. Scholastica College for the PPEs, Tacloban Lions Club for one intercom and one air condition,” Molon said. (PIA8) Photo credits: HFEP, Liza Balila