The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 7 (Central Visayas) handed over 1,500 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) test kits to the provincial government of Negros Oriental on Wednesday.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist and spokesperson of DOH-7, turned over the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits to Gov. Roel Degamo during the launching and inauguration of the PHP38-million molecular diagnostic laboratory of the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) here.
Loreche, representing DOH-7 regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, congratulated the province for establishing a molecular diagnostic laboratory for Covid-19, saying it will speed up efforts in stemming the spread of the virus.
Testing, contact tracing, isolation, and treatment are key in the fight against Covid-19, she said.
“Testing will always play a major role and we believe that by putting in your own molecular laboratory, it will really help the people in Negros Oriental,” she added.
Aside from the test kits, Loreche said they are offering their technical expertise and are willing to train the Covid-19 testing team here, and give them “guidance on how to go about running the molecular laboratory”.
She said that Bernadas is ready to help any time and test kits will also be made available in the event the province runs out of them.
The molecular diagnostic laboratory was established with a PHP12-million worth of RT-PCR machines and other equipment donated by geothermal power firm Energy Development Corporation. A counterpart fund of PHP20 million was also given by the provincial government taken from President Rodrigo Duterte’s PHP98-million Bayanihan grant to Negros Oriental.
The laboratory’s license to operate (LTO) to be issued by the DOH has been put on hold due to minor corrections which can be done either within the week or next week, said Dr. Nikko Cablao, who heads the facility.
Representatives from the DOH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) conducted an actual inspection Tuesday and recommended some corrections before the facility can operate in full, he said.
Cablao said they are hoping to have additional teams as back-up as there is currently only one set of staff trained and assigned at the molecular diagnostic laboratory. (PNA)