Amai Pakpak now has license to operate COVID-19 testing lab

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 July) – The Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) in Marawi City is now licensed to conduct confirmatory laboratory tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) using the Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 test.

Dr. Shalimar Rakiin (right), chief of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, and Dr. Ash Mapandi check out the newly installed GeneXpert Xpress machine at the APMC laboratory. Photo courtesy of APMC

Dr. Shalimar Sani Rakiin, APMC chief, said the license to operate (LTO) issued by the Department of Health is effective June 29 and officially started offering services Wednesday.

It was issued by the DOH’s Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau and signed by lawyer Nicholas B. Lutero, Director IV, in behalf of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Rakiin said that in the last few months, all swab samples collected from suspected COVID-19 patients admitted AMPC were sent to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City, 125 kilometers away. The results will then be available in three to five days, she added.

The GeneXpert Xpress laboratory, she said, can generate four laboratory specimen swab test for every 45 minutes or 32 laboratory results within eight working hours.

Rakiin said the LTO for the GeneXpert Xpress laboratory is valid for three months, or until Sept. 29, but can be renewed. In the meantime, she said they are also awaiting completion of APMC’s biomolecular laboratory that will be equipped with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine.

Rakiin said COVID-19 testing will be free. “However, we have our protocol who needs the laboratory test,” she stressed.

The personnel who will handle the GeneXpert Xpress laboratory have recently passed the proficiency test conducted by personnel of the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine held at APMC last week.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., who also chairs the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force, earlier approved the release of P10 Million to complete the laboratory. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)