4 COVID-19 labs in Davao City in Stage 3 of accreditation

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 July) – The Department of Health (DOH)-Davao reported that four laboratories in Davao City are currently in Stage 3 of their application with the national government to be accredited as testing centers for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Dr. Rachel Joy Pasion, DOH-Davao data management officer, said the four applicant laboratories are Davao Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Davao Doctors Laboratory, and GeneXpert Laboratory and Pop-up Laboratory of Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

She said the city currently has two operating COVID-19 laboratories: the Davao One World Diagnostic Center Inc. and SPMC molecular laboratory, which for a while was the only subnational laboratory accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Mindanao that processed test results of suspected COVID-19 patients through reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

The City of Tagum in Davao del Norte also has its own COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Davao Region Medical Center (DRMC). Other testing centers operationalized by the government are located in Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Cotabato, Koronadal, Surigao and Marawi.

DOH-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera explained that the application comprises five stages.

She said Stage 3 normally involves submission and compliance of requirements, including the manual of operations of the applicant laboratory.

She said Stage 1 involves the submission of a letter of intent to DOH-Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau (DOH-HFSRB); Stage 2 is application and inspection done by DOH-HFSRB and RITM; Stage 3 is on-going submission/compliance of requirements; Stage 4 is the conduct of specimen testing for accreditation, and results will be sent to RITM for validation; and Stage 5 is the full operation with a license to operate issued by DOH-HFRSB.

Rivera added that the applicant laboratories may be allowed to operate as soon as they comply with requirements of the RITM and DOH-HFRSB.

Mayor Sara Duterte said the COVID-19 laboratory of Davao Doctors Hospital is expected to be operationalized by next month.

She said she is expecting at least four COVID-19 laboratories to be operating here by yearend.

As of July 15, the SPMC Molecular Laboratory processed 24,521 specimens while DRMC Molecular Laboratory, 22,444.

As of July 20, the Department of Health-Davao reported 970 COVID-19 cases, with 43 deaths and 539 recoveries.

Of the total cases, 692 are in Davao City, 90 in Davao del Norte, 35 in Davao del Sur, 67 in Davao de Oro, 75 in Davao Oriental, and 11 in Davao Occidental. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)