Cotabato City―The Department of Health has accredited the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) in Marawi City with a License to Operate (LTO) for the GenExpert medical laboratory machine used in efficient tests of suspected COVID-19 cases.
The APMC is about to set up a biomolecular laboratory, from a P15-million capability assistance package from the Bangsamoro Government, through the Office of the Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Earlier, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Bombit Alonto Adiong Jr. directed the provincial government to transfer P10 million in aid to the APMC last May, so as to upgrade the hospital’s capability in testing suspected COVID-19 cases, the Provincial Information Office said.
Dr. Shalimar Rakiin, Medical Center Chief of APMC, said the hospital received its LTO on Monday.
The DOH accreditation will allow a team of trained hospital staff to run the GenExpert machine for COVID-19 tests within three months, from June 29 to September 29, 2020.
“The accreditation of APMC to conduct Rapid PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests further puts the Bangsamoro region in a better position in combating COVID-19. I would also like to assure the people of Lanao del Sur that the Bangsamoro Government will continue to provide assistance to APMC in setting up the much needed biomolecular laboratory,” Ebrahim said.
Ebrahim and Dr. Rakiin signed an agreement for collaboration and cooperation in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MoA covers the transfer of P15 million from BARMM to the APMC in Marawi City, for the hospital management to develop and establish a biomolecular laboratory, amid increasing cases of suspected COVID-19 cases in the province.
Of the 134 total cases in BARMM, 88 have been from Lanao del Sur, 22 from Maguindanao, 21 from Basilan, 3 from Sulu, while Tawi-Tawi remains to have recorded zero cases.
Rakiin said APMC went through a series of accreditation process as prerequisites to the DOH accreditation, namely; application; utilization self-assessment and tool assessment by the DOH staff; identification of laboratory area within the hospital using the required floor plan; procurement of the equipment needed; and orientation and training of staff.
“The DOH-10 sent us the GenExpert Machine and cartridge, after their endorsement that we have met all the requirements in the assessment tool,” Rakiin said.
“Then, finally, upon passing all the levels of the prerequisite process, they sent us the LTO,” she added.
The laboratory is now operational.
She said the hospital’s biomolecular laboratory is expected to be completed by August.
Rakiin said on the first day the APMC operated its new laboratory facility, the hospital received 40 swabs from suspected cases in the community quarantine facility of Sagonsongan town in Lanao del Sur.
She also stressed that the accreditation of the said facility will help epedite the province’s response to coronavirus cases.
“We used to send the swabs to the Regional Epidemiology, Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (RESDRU-Region 10) in Cagayan de Oro City, and then they would send them to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC),” Rakiin said.
“We are also sending our swabs to BARMM RESDRU so they could send them to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC),” she said.
“It took two to five days for the results to come, because marami rin silang tini-test. But now that we will operate own lab, with faster and closer testing,” Dr. Rakiin added.