The Department of Health in Region 10 (DOH-10) said Monday it has begun converting a laboratory for tuberculosis study into a testing facility for the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Dr. Ian Gonzales, DOH-10 Infectious Diseases Cluster head, said the testing facility is undergoing renovation in time for the delivery of testing equipment for suspected Covid-19 cases.
“Even if we have fewer Covid-19 cases, we should not wait for an upsurge of cases in order to prepare the facilities and equipment for testing,” Gonzales said.
Aside from the DOH-10 laboratory, other hospitals identified by the joint teams from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for installation of testing facilities and equipment are the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the Polymedic Medical Plaza, and the Philippine National Red Cross-Mindanao Regional Blood Center.
Gonzales said the lab renovation at the DOH-10 regional office will have further use beyond the Covid-19 crisis.
“The renovation of the lab can also facilitate testing for other diseases like measles, HIV and hepatitis B. Rather than sending our specimens of the diseases to the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), we can test our samples here,” he said
Meanwhile, Gonzales warned about the rapid testing kits being sold online.
While these test kits may be compliant with the standards set by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), these should be administered by qualified health workers and doctors.
“These rapid testing kits are not like pregnancy test kits which can be used by a person,” he said. (PNA)