Marawi Bio Testing Laboratory opens

MARAWI CITY —– The local government unit of Marawi City opened Wednesday (November 18) a P28-million bio molecular testing laboratory located inside the old building of Amai Pakpak Medical Center (AMPC) this city.

The opening delayed for two-months since several documents and requirements from the Department of health (DOH) needed to be complied with first, chief of hospital Dr. Shalimar Rakiin said.

The P 28-million biomolecular testing laboratory inside the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City opened Wednesday, November 18. (Divina M. Suson)

The four staff assigned to man the facility also had to undergo a series of trainings in Davao City and pass an examination before a license to operate (LTO) was issued.

The LTO was only received Tuesday morning (November 17) and APMC management immediately opened the laboratory since there were still many collected specimens that need to be analyzed.

Rakiin said the establishment of the laboratory is a big help to the responses made by the provincial government of Lanao del Sur and the city government of Marawi that contributed funds from their Bayanihan Grant Funds to construct the facility.

A staff member of the  biomolecular testing laboratory at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City tours reporters inside the facility following its ceremonial launching Wednesday, November 18. Behind her is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine that runs the specimen samples and the biosafety cabinet that stores the samples. (Divina M. Suson)

Previously, it would take four to five days before the APMC or the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) received the result of those swabbed for the reverse transcript polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Because we have to first gather specimen samples here (at APMC), then after two days we send them to NMMC (Northern Mindanao Medical Center) in Cagayan de Oro City then wait for another two to three days to get the result,” Rakiin said.

With the opening of the facility, pregnant mothers who would undergo caesarean operations and patients who need surgery would minimize their waiting time and resources waiting for their COVID test results.

“One of the required procedures in the medical management of patients scheduled for caesarean procedure or surgery, is to undergo a RT-PCR test,” Rakiin said.

A staff of the newly-opened biomolecular testing laboratory inside the Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City checks on the first batch of specimen samples to be tested and analyzed by the brand new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine on Wednesday, November 18. (Divina M. Suson)

Mayor Majul Gandamra, who graced the opening, said the establishment of the biomolecular testing laboratory in Marawi City showcased the collaborative efforts of the city and the provincial governments in responding to the pandemic.

“The challenge of fighting the virus while simultaneously rebuilding our city from ruins is not an easy task to achieve. Thus, we are thankful for the efforts of all our frontliners from the local government to the health workers in APMC, the City Health Office (CHO) and the IPHO,” Gandamra said.

In June, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr., turned-over P10 million while Gandamra turned-over P2-million from the Bayanihan Grant Fund the national government downloaded for the local government’s response against COVID-19.

In May, LGU Marawi received P58.7 million as Bayanihan Grant for Cities and Municipalities (BGCM) fund, equivalent to one month internal revenue allotment (IRA) share while Lanao del Sur received P117 million Bayanihan Grant for Provinces fund equivalent to half a month IRA share.

This is in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan Heal as One Act to allow LGUs to quickly respond to the public health crisis.

The BGCM is intended to “boost the LGU’s capacity in immediately responding to the COVID-19 emergency” while the BGP is to used “as augmentation to the funding requirements for the operation of provincial, district and other local hospitals operated by the provincial government and maintenance of duly established provincial checkpoints related to COVID-19, in support of the on-going efforts of the government to respond to the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pendemic.”

As of November 14, Lanao del Sur logged in 30 confirmed cases with 971 recoveries for a total of 1,041 infections since the start of the pandemic in March. There are 40 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in the province, including Marawi City.

Eight of the 30 active cases are from Marawi as of November 16. The city has recorded 581 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. Twenty one (21) of the 40 reported mortalities are from Marawi City.