MANILA – A lawmaker on Thursday called on the Department of Health (DOH) to designate more laboratories as coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing centers in Mindanao.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, along with other Mindanaoan lawmakers, proposed that all regional hospitals in Mindanao be accredited as testing laboratories.
He said the DOH should also deploy test kits to designated testing facilities in compliance with the World Health Organization’s recommendation for the conduct of widespread testing of suspected coronavirus carriers.
He noted that only the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City has been designated as a testing laboratory at present, while the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro has been selected as a Covid-19 referral center.
“Up to now, it (NMMC) has no testing laboratory and no test kits. The swab samples are still sent to Davao City, causing much delay,” he said.
He said the immediate designation of regional testing centers would make mass testing for Covid-19 accessible to the people of Mindanao and would further prevent the spread of the virus.
“Many of our regions are far from Davao City like the Zamboanga area and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” he said.
As of Wednesday, health authorities said the country has 2,311 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 96 fatalities, and 50 recoveries.
The government has increased its testing capability following the procurement of more Covid-19 test kits. It also ramped up quarantine and isolation measures. (PNA)