The molecular diagnostic laboratory of the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH) in Negros Oriental for the testing of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will become a part of the province’s revenue code such that it needs a public hearing to determine its income-generating capacity and other concerns, a key health official here said Monday.
Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, health committee chair of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in a press briefing said the laboratory is still in its finishing touches and still needs the License to Operate from the Department of Health (DOH).
In the meantime, Estacion said they are waiting for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to call for a public hearing in aid of legislation.
“Wala pa kapanday ug policies pag gamit sa molecular laboratory (we have not yet laid out policies for the use of the molecular laboratory)”, she said, although there have been discussions already with the pathologist.
The molecular laboratory was inaugurated last Sept. 23 following the donation of two units of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing machines and other equipment by geothermal power leader Energy Development Corporation.
Estacion said they are awaiting the installation of air-conditioning units this week while EDC’s other donated equipment/accessories have yet to be shipped from Cebu City.
One of the important things to determine and decide is the cost per RT-PCR test even though Gov. Roel Degamo said earlier that it will be given for free to the province’s indigent constituents.
Also, priority testing will be for Negros Oriental residents even though health authorities here are hopeful it can accommodate clients from nearby provinces such as Siquijor, which do not have their own testing capacity.
Doctors and health workers assigned to the molecular laboratory have already been trained by DOH for Covid-19 testing.
Negros Oriental currently sends its throat swab tests to facilities in Cebu City, with the earliest return of results in three days after receipt of specimens. (PNA)