MONTEVISTA, DAVAO DE ORO — The Provincial Government of Davao de Oro was finally able to hold the Blessing and Inaugural Ceremony of the newly established Biomolecular Laboratory at the Davao de Oro Provincial Hospital-Montevista the morning of March 5, 2021. Among the officials present at the ceremony were Provincial Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy, Vice Governor Maria Carmen Zamora, Provincial Economic Enterprise Office Head Dr. Ferdinand Anthony Soberano, Provincial Health Office Head Dr. Antonio Ybiernas, Department of Health (DOH) representative Dr. Grace Amistoso, and Dr. Lyre Murao from the Philippine Genome Center-University of the Philippines-Mindanao and Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Made possible also through partnership with the Philippine Genome Center of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao (PGC UP-Mindanao) and the Department of Science and Technology-XI (DOST XI), the province through this facility will now be able to mobilize immediate medical actions for the needs of its people during the pandemic.

Initially planned to be operational by August 2020, delays were caused by difficulties encountered with the delivery of its facilities and equipment which mostly were shipped from overseas. Nevertheless, after assessment for the laboratory’s DOH accreditation, DOH-XI recognized the facility as one of the most modern health facilities in the entire region.

The license to allow the laboratory’s operation was given to the provincial government by the DOH on February 26, 2021, which also served as authorization for the laboratory to conduct COVID-19 related tests. With funds pulled from the Bayanihan to Heal as One Budget Grant in 2020, this project costed the province a total of 68 million pesos.

An Improved Response Against COVID-19

Given that the province of Davao de Oro has initially been dependent on the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Tagum City, and the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City for RT-PCR tests for all its returning Overseas Workers (OFs) and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), this COVID-19 Testing Laboratory will greatly ease the backlogs faced by the two medical centers and give way for a more prompt provision of swab test results in the province.

This testing facility is yet another product of the provincial government’s efforts in prioritizing the improvement of health services in the province. With other interventions such as the Call DdOC online consultation program and the 1DdO Helpline, Davao de Oro is now in the position to provide a more long-term sustenance of its people’s medical needs.

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