At your doorsteps, soon: PH Red Cross to offer home collection of saliva samples for COVID-19 testing

Published March 3, 2021, 4:47 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will be offering home collection of saliva samples for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.

(Photo via PRC)

“Soon, home collection of saliva samples will also be available through Angkas bikers so that more people can avail of the tests while staying safe in their homes,” PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said. 

The PRC started rolling out in its laboratories the Saliva Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test in January.

Gordon said that this is a “cheaper, non-invasive but accurate” test compared to the swab test.  

As of March 1, PRC was able to conduct 24,303 saliva RT-PCR tests. It also partnered with some malls nationwide for the setting up of drive-thru collection sites to make COVID-testing more accessible and convenient to the public.  

Last week, PRC formally partnered with Angkas to assist in the delivery of humanitarian interventions such as blood needs, first aid and other responses in relation to the fight against COVID-19.  

Angkas is the first and largest app-based professional motorcycle taxi service in the country. Gordon called this partnership a “game-changer” since it will further strengthen PRC’s reach and capacity to provide service to the most vulnerable.   

As PRC expands its sample collection sites in different malls, Gordon said that Angkas riders will be trained to do “home service for saliva testing.” This, he added, will make COVID-19 testing “faster, more convenient, and accessible to those who are unable to leave their homes.” 

The partnership includes PRC membership program enrollment of all Angkas riders, employees, and family members. Angkas riders will also become volunteers under the Red Cross 143 program.   

The riders will also receive first aid and CPR training so they can become emergency responders on the road even during emergencies and disasters. “Every minute matters in life-saving and having quick access through the use of motorcycles and a network of trained volunteers will make a great difference,” Gordon added.