Sun, 12 Jul 2020

UP-Min, SPMC signs MOA to beef up COVID-19 testing facilities

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

DAVAO CITY, May 29 (PIA) - The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a joint intensive training program on SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics that will beef up the personnel in the COVID-19 testing centers.

The MOA signing was held on May 26 at the SPMC with UP Mindanao Chancellor Prof. Larry Digal, PhD and SPMC chief Dr. Leopoldo Vega as the signing parties. Witnessing the signing were Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao director Dr. Lyre Anni Murao and SPMC chief training officer Dr. Maria Elinore Concha.

The MOA aims to train more medical personnel to operate additional testing centers in Davao City and in other areas in Mindanao.

"Public and private hospitals in Davao Region are establishing COVID-19 testing laboratories to address the increasing number of confirmed cases and the limited number of testing facilities. Through this joint program, we can address the need for more personnel to handle clinical specimens and perform the necessary molecular tests," Chancellor Digal said.

UP Mindanao, through the Philippine Genome Center-Mindanao (PGC), will carry out a 14-day training for selected medical technologists and laboratory analysts, beginning with an online module on the molecular biology principles for SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and then followed by extensive hands-on and practical exercises on laboratory procedures and workflow simulations at the UP Mindanao campus in Mintal, Davao City.

The trainees will then move to SPMC for the clinical diagnostics practicum and assessment program, which will involve actual handling and processing of specimens and operations in a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics facility following guidelines established by the Department of Health (DOH).

The trainees who successfully complete the training program will have to undergo assessment by DOH before they can operate in a COVID-19 testing facility in their respective institutions.

This current initiative is part of UP Mindanao's COVID-19 response, which includes the PGC-Mindanao's diagnostic program for the testing facility at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Davao del Norte and assistance to the City Government of Davao in the renovation planning for the testing lab in Los Amigos, Tugbok District.

Though SPMC is currently the only subnational laboratory certified by the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct COVID-19 testing in Mindanao, new COVID-19 testing labs are rising in many areas in Mindanao such as Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga thus necessitating initiatives to add more medical personnel to the testing centers. (PIA/RG Alama with reports from UP Min)

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