The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Tuesday said it is working to make Covid-19 testing in the country affordable and inexpensive for Filipinos.
During a Laging Handa public briefing aired over state-run PTV-4, Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson and chief executive officer of PRC, said they are working to bring down the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) test costs to PHP2,000 to PHP2,500 from the current PHP4,000.
He said this is also to help the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) save money.
Covid-19 testing in private hospitals costs about PHP4,000 while some hospitals charge over PHP10,000 if an individual needs to get the results immediately.
“Kinu-compute pa namin, ‘pag nakuha na namin iyong permits sa DOH (Department of Health) sa saliva test magmumura iyan dahil—nasa expert panel approval na iyan (We are still computing it, once we get the permits from the DOH for the saliva test, then it will still go down – this is already in the expert panel approval),” he said.
Gordon added that right now, PRC is studying a type of reagent that can do three testing and even bring down the cost to between PHP1,500 to PHP2,000.
Meanwhile, they are also studying the saliva test in coordination with the University of Illinois and the University of the Philippines to make it faster.
Gordon said the PRC has done over one million tests, where he cited the efforts and dedication of the staff, medical technicians, and volunteers of PRC.
“At ngayon ay natutuwa ako na batiin sila sapagka’t dahil sa kanila, nakalipon tayo ng 1,003,754 tests – the highest in the entire country and we are higher by 700,000 sa susunod sa amin na nagti-test. Kami ay nasa top ten, number one kami (I am grateful to them. Because of them, we were able to do about 1,003,754 tests — the highest in the entire country, and we are higher by 700,000 to the one next to us. We are in the top ten, we are number one),” Gordon said.
He said this is not to brag about the achievements of PRC but to give the people behind the office a pat in the back for their role in fighting Covid-19.
Gordon said PRC is working with everybody from government institutions as well as the private sector.
To date, the PRC has about 22,000 test machines in Manila aside from those placed in different provinces.
PRC also has about 384 medical technicians.
They have pathologists, trained swabbers, and encoders.
Gordon said if people continue to take extra precautions and follow imposed safety health protocols such as wearing of masks, observing safe physical distancing, and frequent washing of hands, the country will be able to defeat Covid-19.
Meanwhile, those who need to be tested may get in touch with the PRC online through book.redcross1158.com. (PNA)