COVID-19 TEST TRAINING. Some members of a team of 10 medical personnel from the Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while undergoing training on coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory in Cebu City on Friday (May 8, 2020). The training involved a pathologist and nine medical technologists from DOH-8 to prepare for Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)-accreditation of Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center molecular laboratory setup to test for Covid-19. (Photo courtesy of OPAV)

CEBU CITY – A team of 10 medical personnel from the Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas completed a three-day coronavirus disease (Covid-19) proficiency training at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory (VSMMC-SNL).

In a statement, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said on Friday the training given to the medical personnel from Region 8 was in preparation for the molecular laboratory setup in Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center.

The laboratory is awaiting accreditation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the DOH.

The team is composed of a pathologist and nine medical technologists.

OPAV spokesperson Titus Borromeo said Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino’s office facilitated the trip of the team from Ormoc City to Mandaue City as well as arranged their transport and billeting for the duration of their training here.

Borromeo said the molecular laboratory in Region 8 has been set up in the old EVRMC and has passed stage 2 of the validation for RITM accreditation.

The Covid-19 proficiency training of the personnel is the third stage, he said.

After the training, the personnel will take the proficiency panel as part of stage 4 for accreditation.

Once RITM validates it, stage 5, which is the full-scale implementation, will be granted.

Last May 6, DOH-8 Covid-19 testing team led by Dr. Kae Parilla went back to Tacloban City after the three-day Covid-19 proficiency training.

The team will be undertaking the Covid-19 proficiency panel (stage 4) once they return to EVRMC in Tacloban City.

Once they pass the proficiency panel, they will then be granted full accreditation by the RITM.

As an accredited laboratory, it can perform Covid-19 testing independently and provide official results.

To augment the testing capacity of the EVRMC Covid-19 laboratory, Cristina Lee Dino Foundation, through OPAV, donated a real-time polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR) machine, a desktop computer set, and additional 1,000 nasopharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab (NPS/OPS) kits.

“The PCR testing of samples from Eastern Visayas is currently being done at the VSMMC-SNL but once EVRMC is granted Stage 5 accreditation by RITM, it will now be running its own PCR testing for the entire region,” Borromeo said.

Borromeo said OPAV is thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go for their continued support in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the three Visayas regions. (PNA)