Mon, 01 Jun 2020

Davao del Norte LGU execs set for sustainable COVID-19 testing

Philippine Information Agency
22 May 2020, 09:38 GMT+10

DAVAO DEL NORTE, MAY 21 (PIA) - Local chief executives in Davao del Norte are gearing up for a sustainable way of handling immediate testing for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Guesting in #LagingHanda Network Briefing of Secretary Martin Andanar, Tagum City Mayor Allan L. Rellon brushed aside "mass testing" due to dearth of COVID-19 test kits, while also shelving "rapid testing" due to concerns on accuracy.

He however said that such approaches were supposedly part of contingency plans as discussed with Tagum Task Force on COVID-19.

In the same vein of interest, Rellon said local governments of Davao del Norte with the Provincial Government at the helm, have put together their resources to establish COVID-19 Testing Facility at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) located in Brgy Apokon in Tagum City.

"We've shared our finances on this; hopefully by June or July, matapos siya (this will be done). We are waiting for the approval of the Department of Health (DOH)," he said.

"We already signed the memorandum of agreement, at ito po ang paghahanda natin kahit matagalan pa. (This our preparation to last a long time)," he said, referring to anticipation of more COVID-19 cases.

Part of the initiative to set up a COVID-19 Testing Facility in Tagum City are the DRMC, the University of the Philippines Philippine Genome Center, the Department of Health, , and a private sector partner Maer Summit Konstrukt Co.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on this project was signed on May 19 by Provincial Governor Edwin Jubahib; DRMC Medical Center Chief , Dr. Bryan O. Dalid; UP Min Chancellor, Dr Larry N. Digal; Maer Summit Konstrukt Managing Partner Dino Mae Suelto and Rellon.

This is projected to cost PhP12 million of which the City Government of Tagum has committed to pour in PhP4 million; the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte, PhP2 million; the Island Garden City of Samal, PhP3 million and; Panabo City, PhP3 million.

Aside from pooling funds, the LGU partners also have committed to provide assistance for the approval of necessary permits and licenses for the construction and operation of the COVID-19 Testing Center.

The MOA cites the DRMC as the first party responsible of overseeing the construction of COVID-19 Testing Facility in accordance with DOH guidelines and in-charge of selecting and procuring the laboratory supply and equipment to be used in the facility.

The DRMC is also expected to secure the necessary permits for the construction and operation of the facility, apply and secure DOH approval of the facility, and spearhead the sample collection and storage.

Among other crucial responsibilities of the DRMC is to shoulder the operational cost and expenses enough to perform a range of 1,320 and 2,500 tests per month or based on the actual need of the facility.

UP Min bears the obligation to provide capacity building of the facility personnel including bio-safety training for highly infectious human pathogens and molecular diagnostics training for assessment of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Among other the critical obligations of UP-Min is to assist in the design of the facility in accordance with the approved design of DOH, and to provide the template manual on standard of operations that DRMC can revise to fit the laboratory design and operations necessary to the application of License to Operate with the DOH.

The private sector partner commits to provide technical expertise in addition to what UP-Min provides, and participate in the laboratory design and construction of the facility as well as ensure that the construction of the facility is in accordance to with the approved design of DOH. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)

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