Amai Pakpak Medical Center gets license for Covid testing lab

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 19 November) – The Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) in Marawi City has obtained a license to operate its biomolecular testing laboratory from the Department of Health (DOH) – Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau, an official of the hospital said Thursday.

APMC chief Dr. Shalimar Rakiin said in a phone interview the DOH released Wednesday license number 10-0102-H2-1 authorizing the hospital to conduct Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests for coronavirus disease using its laboratory.

Dr. Shalimar Rakiin (right), chief of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, and Dr. Ash Mapandi, view the newly-installed Genexpert Express machine at the laboratory inside the hospital. Photo courtesy of APMC

The license, signed by Atty. Nicholas B. Lutero III on behalf of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, only covers the period Nov. 14 to Dec. 31, 2020 but is renewable every January based on DOH policy.

Rakiin said the provincial government of Lanao del Sur allotted P10 million, Marawi City P2 million and the Office of the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BARMM) in Muslim Mindanao P15,039,688.

APMC serves patients from Marawi, Lanao del Sur and nearby areas of BARMM.

“We are already running the testing laboratory for Covid-19 specimens with the medical technologists under the close supervision of our pathologist,” Rakiin said.

She said the laboratory can process 96 specimens in 1.5 hours with a turnaround time of 24 hours.

She said the PhilHealth will shoulder the cost of testing especially for indigent patients.

She added they also opened a new intensive care unit, a transition emergency room and two more wards in compliance with the DOH directive to increase by 30 percent its bed capacity for Covid-19 patients.

Rakiin said Vice President Leni Robredo had provided 1,000 RT-PCR testing kits through the Angat Buhay Program while the World Health Organization had committed to donate the same item.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., a survivor of Covid-19, expressed optimism the improved health facilities and services will help to serve more lives from the dreaded disease.

Lanao del Sur Provincial Information Officer Jennie Tamano said that as of Nov. 18, the province had 1,047 confirmed cases with 19 active ones, 987 recoveries and 41 deaths.

Tamano said the province and Marawi remained under a general community quarantine with “no movement Sundays.” (Richel V. Umel/MindaNews)