DAVAO CITY- The COVID-19 testing facility, a joint project of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, Maer Summit Konstrukt and the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte is now complete.
This after the builder, Maer Summit Konstrukt Company turned over the facility to end-user Davao Regional Medical Center during ceremonies held at the Davao del Norte Provincial Capitol in Tagum City.
The testing facility is located inside the DRMC in Tagum City.
"This is a good example of a private sector-government-academe partnership that contributed to addressing the huge challenge mounted by this pandemic,It started with the private sector group Maer Summit Konstrukt who approached us for this project, led by Mr. Suelto, an alumnus of the UP School of Economics, and his son, who was my student in Agribusiness Economics. They donated a PCR machine and testing kits and they linked us to the Davao del Norte LGU - to the governor and the three mayors. So the partnership was hatched," UP Mindanao Chancellor Larry Digal recounted the beginning of the project during the ceremony.
"Hinintay natin matapos itong COVID-19 testing facility dito sa Davao del Norte dahil sa shortage ng lab testing at marami na ang may sakit. (We waited for the COVID-19 testing facility here in Davao del Norte to be completed because of the shortage of lab testing and there are lots who are getting sick) The problem, I learned from Dr. Dalid, was the required budget of P12 million. No problem, I said, because there are the three 'mababait' na mayors," Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib said during the turnover ceremony.
UP Mindanao contributed to the design of the facility, in accordance with the approved design of the Department of Health (DOH) and provided the DRMC personnel with training on molecular diagnostics and biosafety for highly infectious human pathogens.
UP Mindanao will also continue to provide technical assistance and consultancy services for issues that may arise during the regular operations of the facility.
The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao, a satellite facility in UP Mindanao of the Philippine Genome Center based in UP Diliman provided the expertise for the trainings, facility design, and technical assistance.
During the pandemic, PGC Mindanao capacitated hospitals to conduct COVID-19 testing by training their personnel on SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the most effective testing system currently available to counter COVID-19.
PGC Mindanao was appointed by the DOH as a trainer for Mindanao and, since April 2020, has trained 45 frontliners from six medical centers in Mindanao and also contributed to the successful accreditation of four of these centers for COVID-19 testing.
The COVID-19 facilities in DRMC can also be used beyond the present pandemic for other relevant purposes such as infectious disease surveillance and collaborative research, also through the PGC Mindanao
PGC Mindanao Director Lyre Murao said that COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the lingering but neglected issues on environment and agriculture.
"This pandemic is a timely opportunity for us to reboot our framework and act with resolve for sustainable and resilient ecosystems and communities. The Philippine Genome Center Mindanao can help Mindanao through 'omics,' the study of molecules in disease, health, food, and agriculture. Omics can be used for the advancement of knowledge, innovations, and policies towards a more sustainable utilization and management of resources in the post-pandemic age," Murao said.
Meanwhile under the arrangement of the COVID-19 facility in Davao del Norte, the DRMC will take over the daily operation and maintenance of the facility. DRMC Chief Dr. Bryan Dalid projected that the facility can begin its operation by September 2020. (PIA/RG Alama with reports from UP Mindanao)