THE Department of Health (DOH) in the Cordillera Administrative Region assured that private molecular testing laboratories are monitored, including their disposal of hazardous waste.

Dr. Ruby Constantino, DOH-Cordillera director, said the only private molecular laboratory testing center for coronavirus in Baguio City has undergone the necessary health and safety requisites.

"Parkway, which is private, has been certified by the DOH as a molecular laboratory and at the same time accredited by PhilHealth, provide us with their daily data of positive cases identified in their laboratory," Constantino said.

The certification process includes management of infectious waste used in the testing process for Covid-19.

"They will not be certified and licensed by DOH if they do not follow the standard protocol and health requirement for a molecular laboratory which includes on how they will dispose of their waste materials. In general, the DOH releases strict guidelines for hospitals including molecular laboratories on how they are going to dispose their waste materials which are considered as infectious, including who should collect this aside from the treatment process the waste material has to undergo before disposal," Constantino added.

The testing center cannot avail itself of the incineration process as it would be this would be a violation of the clean air act which prohibits its use.

The environment management section of the health department's Administrative Order (AO) 2020-0014 for the establishment of molecular laboratories indicates that Covid-19 testing laboratories should ensure the environment is safe for its patients and staff, including the general public.

Among requirement are a written plan and program of proper disinfection and preventive maintenance of the facility, having the appropriate signage, and that only authorized personnel should be allowed entry.

The AO also indicates the strict observance on the use of personal protective equipment and adherence to infection control policies.

Procedures for the proper disposal of infectious wastes and toxic and hazardous substances should also be in accordance with Republic Act 6969, known as "Toxic and Hazardous Substances and Nuclear Wastes Act," and other related policy guidelines and/or issuance in accordance with the DOH Healthcare Waste Management Manual.

A memorandum of agreement with an infectious waste and toxic and hazardous substance hauler should also be undertaken.