In a virtual presser, Benguet provincial health officer, Dr. Mercedes Calpito said Tuesday the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and automated extraction machines have been stationed to the BGHMC through a memorandum of agreement (MOA), the Department of Health’s sub-national testing laboratory for north Luzon, catering to Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley) and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Calpito said the machines will be used by the BGHMC for the meantime as she admitted that BeGH has no capability yet in using said equipment without a testing lab and will be of good use at the regional testing facility.
Yap, who sent the supplies to the province last May 22, said that the MOA will be executed by the two hospitals until the BeGH will have an adequate facility.
Under such agreement, BGHMC will be using the machines but will allocate a certain number of tests per day for Benguet residents until such time that BeGH is ready with its own molecular testing facility.
“This will be a big boost (in the battle against Covid),” Yap said.
“We will not flatten the curve without mass testing and I hope these machines will bring us one step closer to a Covid-free community”, he added.
Now efforts are being made, like identifying a place within the hospital and the medical technologists are now observing at BGHMC to learn the testing process, Calpito said.
“It will be established in the near future, most probably in six months' time or by January (2021),” she added.
One PCR machine would require medical technologists, a pathologist, and an encoder.
She said that 10-12 medical technologists are needed for the four PCR machines excluding a pathologist and an encoder per machine, said BGHMC’s Dr. Lea Fangolino, who represented hospital chief, Dr. Ricardo Runez, Jr.
She added that a PCR machine could cost PHP4 million, and for a laboratory, at least PHP200 million is needed, which does not include personnel and other equipment.
Yap in giving the machines said that he was inspired by his favorite quote: “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
He said the country’s direction should be testing which is the answer and not only quarantine, while he further urged the country’s public health sector to fortify its capability to test and hasten the waiting time for the result.
“From 100 tests a day dahil manual ang ginagamit, magiging 1,000 ang pwedeng i-test once na may automated machine na (From 100 tests a day because it is manual, the capability will increase to 1,000 a day once there is an automated machine). It is a must-have,” Yap added. (PNA)
By Pigeon Lobien