Bio-testing laboratory in Marawi opens

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MARAWI CITY —– The local government unit (LGU) of Marawi City opened on Wednesday (November 18) the 28-million peso worth bio-molecular testing laboratory located inside the old building of Amai Pakpak Medical Center (AMPC) here.

The opening was two-month late because according to the chief of the hospital Dr. Shalimar Rakiin, there are several documents and requirements from the Department of Health (DOH) that needed completion.

The four staff assigned to man the facility need to undergo a series of training in Davao City and took examination before the license to operate (LTO) will be issued.

The LTO issued by the DOH was only received on Tuesday morning (November 17) that made the APMC management immediately open the laboratory, as there are many collected specimens that needed to be analyzed according to Rakiin.

Rakiin said the establishment of the laboratory is a big help to the responses made by the provincial government of Lanao del Sur and the city government of Marawi that shelled out from the Bayanihan Grant Fund to construct the facility.

Before the operation of the laboratory, it would take four to five days before the APMC or the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) received the result of those swabbed for the reverse transcript polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Because we have to gather first specimen samples here (at APMC) and after two days we send them to NMMC (Northern Mindanao Medical Center) in Cagayan de Oro City then wait for another two to three days to get the result,” Rakiin said.

With the opening of the facility, pregnant mothers who would undergo caesarean operations, and patients who need surgery would minimize their waiting time and resources waiting for their COVID test result.

“One of the procedures in the medical management of the patients, whether they undergo caesarean procedure or surgery, is to subject them to a RT-PCR test to determine if they are COVID positive or negative. There are different managements in dealing with them,” Rakiin said.

Mayor Majul Gandamra, who graced the opening, said the establishment of the biomolecular testing laboratory in Marawi City, showed the collaborative efforts of the city government and the provincial government in responding to the pandemic.

“The challenge of fighting the virus while simultaneously rebuilding our city from ruins is not an easy task to achieve. Thus, we are thankful for the efforts of all our frontliners from the local government to the health workers in APMC, the City Health Office (CHO), and the IPHO,” Gandamra said in his message.

In June, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr., turned-over 10 million pesos and Gandamra turned-over two million pesos from the Bayanihan Grant Fund the national government downloaded for the local government’s response against COVID-19.

In May, LGU Marawi received a P58.7 million Bayanihan Grant for Cities and Municipalities (BGCM) fund, an equivalent to a one-month internal revenue allotment (IRA) share while Lanao del Sur received 117 million pesos, Bayanihan Grant, for Provinces fund or an equivalent to half a month IRA share.

This is in accordance with the Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan Heal as One Act to allow LGUs to quickly respond to a public health crisis.

The BGCM is intended to “boost the LGU’s capacity in immediately responding to the COVID-19 emergency” while the BGP is to use “as an augmentation to the funding requirements for the operation of the provincial, district and other local hospitals operated by the provincial government and maintenance of duly established provincial checkpoints related to COVID-19, in support to the on-going efforts of the government to respond to the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

As of November 14, Lanao del Sur logged in 30 confirmed cases with 971 recoveries which bring to 1,041 infections since the start of the pandemic in March. There are 40 reported mortalities due to COVID-19 in the province that includes Marawi City.

Eight of the 30 active cases are from Marawi as of November 16. The city, however, recorded 581 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Twenty-one (21) of the 40 reported mortalities are from Marawi City. –Divina M. Suson

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