Amai Pakpak gets P15-million grant from BARMM for COVID-19 laboratory

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) turned over P15 million cash assistance to the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) on Monday for the establishment of a biomolecular laboratory that will be used to test coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim and Dr. Shalimar Sani-Rakiin, APMC chief, entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to help together in the battle against COVID-19.

The MOA states that the APMC will receive and process specimen from other BARMM areas for testing, whether COVID-19 cases or not, and even beyond the pandemic, following guidelines set by the Department of Health.

“This MOA is another manifestation and gesture of our shared commitment with APMC in fighting COVID-19. We are confident that our friends and counterparts from APMC can help us in this continuing battle,” Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim is also optimistic that BARMM’s contribution to APMC will help in providing a great leap for the COVID-19 response of Lanao del Sur.

“Not only did the APMC assure the accreditation of their COVID-19 testing laboratory but they are also finishing up a biomolecular laboratory that is as equally important to help out in conducting more tests daily,” Ebrahim added.

APMC began testing COVID-19 cases last week using the Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 after getting the approval of the Department of Health.

The molecular laboratory will be used for its second facility for COVID-19 testing using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine.

“When we are all ready for the biomolecular lab, we will be ready for the mass testing,” said Dr. Shalimar Sani Rakiin, APMC chief. “We see the biomolecular lab as a great factor to conduct the test and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Lanao del Sur,” she added.

Rakiin said the building for the laboratory is already 39-percent complete. It is expected to be operational on August 20, way before the expiration of the license to operate the GeneXpert Xpress machine on Sept. 29.

The local government units of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, through Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. and Mayor Majul Gandamra, have extended their contribution to the molecular laboratory: P10 million from Lanao del Sur and P2 million from Marawi, respectively. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)