By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), today expressed optimism that the Philippines’ health care system would be stronger because of the bio-molecular laboratories opened by the PRC to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Philippines, according to Gordon, is the only Red Cross Society in the world which has its own bio-molecular laboratory system. He said the pandemic revolutionized the country’s public health system, adding that emerging and re-emerging diseases could now be tested in the PRC’s facilities.
“We are a country that is often hit by diseases. Polio suki tayo, measles, dengue, cancers lahat ‘yan matetest ngayon. Itong mga PCR na binili ng Red Cross pati Zica, TB, leptospirosis, hepatitis lahat yan mate-test and we will become a stronger nation health wise,” he said. (Polio, measles, dengue and cancers would now be tested. The PCRs that the PRC bought could test Zica, leptospirosis and hepatitis could now be tested.)
The PRC already opened three molecular laboratories, two in its national headquarter along EDSA and one in its former headquarters in Port Area, Manila.
Each facility is equipped with four PCR machines and is capable of running 4,000 tests a day or a total of 12,000 test for all three facilities combined.
In order to conquer COVID-19, Gordon said he is planning to put in more machines in the Manila facility since Metro Manila is the epicenter, and open up more molecular laboratories in other provinces across the country.
Gordon further pointed out that the on-going pandemic has also enhanced the skill sets of Filipino medical technicians because it has provided them with an opportunity to handle more advanced laboratory machines.