Lawmaker pushes to turn DOH-run hospitals into 'testing facilities'

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Cagayan AGAYAN de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez. (File photo)

CAGAYAN de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez and other lawmakers from Mindanao are urging the Department of Health (DOH) to designate more Covid-19 testing laboratories in the different regions in the island.

Rodriguez has also asked the DOH to send test kits to designated testing facilities.

He said they are proposing that all DOH-run regional hospitals in Mindanao be accredited as test laboratories.

The Kagay-anon lawmaker said while Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro has been selected as a Covid-19 referral center, it still has no testing laboratory and no test kits.

"At present, only the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City has been designated as a testing laboratory," Rodriguez said.

"The swab samples are still sent to Davao City, causing much delay," he added.

Rodriguez emphasized that the immediate selection of more laboratories and deployment of test kits are in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organization for the mass evaluation of suspected coronavirus carriers.

He said this is also the proposal of various groups of businessmen, doctors, local leaders, and other concerned citizens in Mindanao.

Rodriguez added that the designation of regional testing centers would make Covid-19 examination accessible to the people of Mindanao and contribute to preventing the spread of the virus.

"Many of our regions are far from Davao City like Zamboanga area and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the proposal has already been sent to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.


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