By Donna Rempillo
City of San Fernando, Pampanga – Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital, which is on the third stage of the five stages required for laboratory accreditation, is on stand-by for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to train its personnel.
This is expected to happen on May 2 to 10. Once completed, the fourth stage will be the certification and the final stage will be on May 16 for full capacity implementation of the testing facility.
In need for more testing laboratories in the country, Department of Local and Interior Government Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya asked for support to fast-track the accreditation of JBLMRH.
“Like in Marikina, DILG helped [quicken] the accreditation of Marikina Testing Center. So in the case of JBLMRH, [which is] just [waiting for] the training, it will operate soon. I will help coordinate with Usec. Vergerie to help [quicken] the licensure (of the laboratory),” Usec. Malaya shared.
As the region’s COVID-dedicated facility, JBLMRH also receives support from the private sector through donations.
The recent $2.5-million worth of laboratory equipment, and 45,000 test kits funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and developed by the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI) will be commissioned and installed here.
JBLMRH’s lab will be able to facilitate 3,000 tests per day, making it the country’s Pandemic Subnational Reference Laboratory (PSRL).
Department of Health – Central Luzon mentioned in its official statement that BGI will assign its own full-time staff in the facility to guide the preparation of the laboratory. BGI personnel will also help in the training and providing technical support during the first week of operations.
To date, 20 COVID-19 confirmed cases have been admitted at the regional hospital, with 38 persons under investigation (PUIs) now considered “COVID-probable cases.”
With the recent death of a critically ill septuagenarian who was a resident of Tarlac and with the increase in admissions of COVID-19 related cases, Dr. Monserrat Chichioco, medical chief II of JBLMRH says, they are putting their best efforts to continuously upgrade the facility, which includes converting some medical wards into COVID-dedicated rooms.
“We have converted some of our wards into COVID-dedicated wards. We have now 120 beds and an additional [intensive care unit], aside from the 20-bed-capacity ICU dedicated to COVID,” Dr. Chichioco said.
Not wanting to suppress anyone’s right to medical service, the regional hospital continues to offer regular services for non-COVID patients.
“We are smoothly running the facility with regards to COVID, but we did not close our regular services. We still have 400 patients admitted, as of the moment, which include pedia-related cases, medicine, OB, surgical, and orthopedic,” Dr Chichioco explained.