By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The first bio-safe Swab Mobile sampling unit in the Philippines was launched in Bacolod City on Thursday.
The Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BFCCCI), the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Junior Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Bacolod Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade turned over the Swab Mobile, which cost P1 million, to the city government.
It was received by city officials, led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and Rep. Greg Gasataya, in rites held at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) grounds.
BFCCCI Executive Vice President Clifford Uy said that the Swab Mobile can be used for their joint campaign to intervene in the health status of the constituents. It is aimed at helping ensure the protection of medical frontliners as they extract specimens during swab tests.
Loren Kara Leonardia, daughter of the city mayor, initiated the project, in partnership with Engr. Rane Joseph Saril, who provided the technical expertise to create it.
Kara said she pushed for the completion of the project because she was alarmed by the number of doctors and nurses who have succumbed to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the earlier weeks of the pandemic.
“This is the first bio-safe Swab Mobile in the country and this was proudly made in Bacolod City,” Kara said, as she hopes that it will give the health workers confidence that they are kept safe as they go about their duties when swabbing for samples.
She also thanked the Junior Chamber for their additional donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which will be used as consumables for the swab mobile.
Local businesses such as JMC Bacolod, Bacolod Polaris Enterprises, CT Glass, and Robiank Marketing and Advertising had also helped construct the Mobile Unit. The second Swab Mobile will be donated by BioPower Group by next week.
Leonardia said that “this will help protect health workers from being exposed unnecessarily during specimen extraction. Instead of letting the patient go to the hospital for a swab test, the staff from the City Health Office (CHO) will go to the area of the patients.”
With this unit, they can limit the exposure to only two health workers who would be further protected by the biosecurity measures in place within the van.
For his part, Dr. Julius Drilon, medical center chief of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital here, said that the project was in line with the construction of the regional hospital’s bio-laboratory scheduled to operate this June.
While the bio-lab is still being constructed, the CHO will be able to use these units when they go on their contact-tracing missions, freeing up the use of ambulances which were their prior mode of transportation. The ambulances can then be disinfected and put back to use for other emergencies.