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Newly hired med techs ready to deploy to process virus samples

THE NEW medical technologists hired by the city to enhance its testing capabilities for COVID-19 will only have to surmount one hurdle before they will be deployed.

“There are six medical technologists who finished their training last week. They will now be prepared for their proficiency test,” said City Health Office (CHO) head, Dr. Josephine Villafuerte.

Villafuerte said they can start processing samples at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport laboratory when they pass the proficiency test.

The medical technologists were trained by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) before their deployment to the newly commissioned testing laboratory for COVID-19.

The testing laboratory at the Davao airport was donated by Unilab pharmaceutical company on Sept. 15, and it can process 92 specimens per run.

Also, 11 medical technologists are currently undergoing training in preparation for the soon-to-open Los Amigos COVID testing laboratory.

Villafuerte said the personnel who are deployed at the laboratories are required to undergo training on biosafety, biosecurity, and processing with the use of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine.

 

COVID-19 lab inside PRO XI to open Oct.

Meanwhile, the regional police director is optimistic that the molecular testing laboratory inside the Police Regional Office XI headquarters will be inaugurated next month.

In an interview on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal thanked the Department of Science and Technology in Davao Region (DOST XI) for supporting the establishment of the COVID-19 testing facility inside the Camp Sgt. Quintin M. Merecido.

“The facility is not only for COVID testing but will also be used for the research. The University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao will provide the capacity building training for our men,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

Funded by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Escobal said the facility will be manned by police personnel who are licensed medical technicians and BS Biology graduate.

“Actually we already started the training and this coming Oct. 5, they will undergo the online biosafety training,” he added.

The molecular laboratory will be used to test suspected COVID-19 patients who are Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel and their dependents, as well as authorized civilian patients that would need testing.

“We also accept patients who are government referrals,” Escobal said.

On Sept. 16, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing ceremony for the facility was conducted between the DOST XI, PRO XI, and UP Mindanao.

Dr. Anthony C. Sales, DOST XI regional director, said the agency will provide financial and technical assistance for the operation and management of the facility, particularly in the area of research and development.

Sales said the facility is the second testing center that the agency helped establish; the other is in partnership with the Davao de Oro provincial government.

UP-Mindanao, meanwhile, is tasked with facilitating the capacity-building of facility personnel, assist in the development of a manual on the standard of operations, and provide consultancy services, said Lyre Anni Murao, the university’s Philippine Genome Center Mindanao head. (PNA)

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