By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Anti Red Tape Authority has submitted three recommendations to the Department of Health to facilitate the accreditation of Laboratory Testing Centers for COVID-19 by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
The recommendations are: First, the self-assessment tool for application for accreditation be made easily accessible by the public and readily available in the DOH’s website. Second, the validation of submission of requirements may be done simultaneously with the training of personnel. Third, the number of inspection teams may be increased to meet the surge in accreditation needed in the mass testing of more Filipinos.
“Consistent with our mandate to help and assist in expediting government processes, ARTA has submitted a number of recommendations to the DOH and the RITM mainly consisting of parallel compliance of requirements instead of a linear compliance,” said ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica in a statement.
So far, there are already 17 accredited COVID-19 testing laboratories but there are have been complaints over slow processing on pending applications for the accreditation of testing laboratories, including the Marikina testing laboratory, which has yet to hurdle the proficiency test of its personnel.
Belgica also said that ARTA, a member of the Inter Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, is in full support of the efforts and measures that the DOH has pushed and advocated.
“As a member of the IATF, ARTA has seen and appreciated the methodical and scientific approaches being employed especially with the accreditation of Laboratory Testing Centers for COVID 19 by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM),” he said.
During one of the IATF meetings when the accreditation of testing laboratories was presented by Dr. Cecilia Carlos of RITM among others, Belgica said that ARTA will submit its recommendation pursuant to its mandate in streamlining governmental procedures.
The ARTA recommendations have been submitted last Saturday, April 18, to Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire as DOH-OIC of the Health Regulation Team.
“We also call on the academe and the private sector to assist in hastening the process by volunteering their expertise. One possible need that may be addressed by experts in the academe and private sector is to help increase the team of inspectors to accommodate and process the demand for accreditation of more testing labs. We especially raise this call for our laboratory technicians who are awaiting their deployment abroad to join the call of our government to increase our manpower of healthcare frontliners,” said Belgica.
He assured that with or without a crisis, ARTA continues to be a partner of the DOH, RITM, and of all government agencies in streamlining its procedures in eliminating red-tape for an ef¬ficient and effective delivery of government service.