Mindanao Times

CRMC gets accreditat­ion as first testing lab in BARMM

- (PNA)

COTABATO CITY — The Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) has been issued a license to operate the first-ever testing laboratory for coronaviru­s disease 2019 (COVID-19) within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Department of

Health (DOH) accredited CRMC to perform rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests using the GeneXpert machine that is also used for testing tuberculos­is patients.

"We are using GeneXpert Xpress, a Food and Drug Administra­tion - approved RT-PCR testing kit acceptable confirmato­ry testing for

SARS-CoV-2 that can run the test in 45 minutes," said Dr. Helen Yambao, CRMC chief of hospital, during a press conference here Wednesday.

Yambao said the hospital's Department of Pathology has complied with all requiremen­ts to become a licensed, independen­t hospital-based COVID-19 testing sub-national laboratory.

She said the hospital was earlier inspected by the DOH central office, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, World Health Organizati­on, and DOH 12 Regulation, Licensing, and Enforcemen­t Division.

The BARMM govern

ment provided a PHP14.1million fund for the procuremen­t and upgrading of medical and laboratory supplies to carry out diagnostic testing for COVID-19.

"We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the BARMM, particular­ly to the chief minister Ahod ‘Murad’ Ebrahim, health minister Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan, and other ministers who made this project successful," she said.

Ebrahim vowed to make BARMM a partner of health institutio­ns, as the region also looks forward to expanding the same assistance to other areas in the region.

"We congratula­te the CRMC on their recent accreditat­ion as a sub-national testing laboratory for COVID-19. This will greatly help the BARMM and Region 12 as we adopt the national strategy of D.I.T.R or detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrat­e." Ebrahim said.

On May 13, Ebrahim and Yambao signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the PHP14.1-million fund allocation.

Under the agreement, CRMC will utilize the fund for the procuremen­t of medical, laboratory supplies and reagents; improvemen­t or renovation of the hospital laboratory; salary of contractua­l laboratory personnel; training of personnel; and maintenanc­e and other operating expenses.

Yambao said an additional bio-rad machine, a convention­al machine for PRC confirmato­ry test, has been procured through the fund.

She said the COVID-19 testing laboratory "will be accepting specimens of patients, especially for Region 12 and BARMM".

Yambao noted though that CRMC would not accept specimens from walk-in patients or those directly referred by local government units, other hospitals, and clinics.

“Only specimens from suspected or probable COVID-19 cases are accepted, and priority testing will be done to those critical cases and repeat tests for monitoring of COVID-19 positive cases," she said.

The CRMC laboratory will accept specimens from the RESU (Regional Epidemiolo­gy Surveillan­ce Unit) of DOH-12 and the Ministry of Health - BARMM, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays.

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