DOH: Marikina City’s COVID-19 testing lab lacks requirements for certification

Published April 14, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Analou De Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said the Marikina City government’s laboratory center has yet to complete the necessary requirements for it to be certified to conduct COVID-19 testing.

“On today’s assessment by a team of DOH and RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) staff, it was found that while there was a physical facility ready, the biosafety equipment remained uninstalled and its personnel untrained to operate them,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire

Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro had announced that they are going to open their COVID-19 testing center even without the approval of the DOH.

Vergeire said Marikina’s laboratory center is still in stage 3 of a 5-stage accreditation process.

She added that a laboratory testing center without proper certification may cause “undue harm” to the people, and that the virus causing the COVID-19 is highly contagious.

“The DOH understands that everyone wants to have a faster testing process, but this should not be at the expense of compliance with protocols set to protect our citizens from harm,” Vergeire said.

“It is imperative that we abide by our scientific processes to secure the safety of our fellow Filipinos in Marikina City.”

Vergeire also denied allegations that the DOH is not supportive of the Marikina City government’s initiative.

“This is not true. We want Marikina to succeed. So much so that since the beginning of their application for accreditation, the Department has provided the technical assistance,” Vergeire said.

She advised the Marikina City government to enroll their laboratory technicians in the online course offered by the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health and scheduled their practical or hands-on training on biosafety with RITM on Monday.

For the time being, Vergeire said they may partner with accredited laboratories in Metro Manila.

“Hindi po nangigipit ang DOH. Kami po ay kaalyado nyo sa laban na ito,” said Vergeire. (DOH is not making things hard for anyone. We are your allies in this fight.)