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PIA Press Release

DOH plans AH1N1 testing lab in Davao

by RG Alama

Davao City (5 June) -- The Department of Health is planning to put a PCR or Polymerase Chain Reaction laboratory at the Davao Medical Center which can detect A H1N1 influenza in swab samples taken from suspected cases.

According to Dr. Leopoldo Vega, chief of the Davao Medical Center said that current suspected cases have their swabs taken by DMC and these swab samples are then sealed and carried by courier to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila for tests. The RITM is the only World Health Organization accredited AH1N1 testing center in the country.

Vega said the DOH is planning to build two WHO accredited PCR laboratories, one will be for Visayas and will be located in Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu City and one will be for Mindanao inside the DMC.

Aside from the equipment, personnel will be trained by the DOH to man the laboratory. This according to Vega will take some time.

Meanwhile, DMC is trying to explore arrangements with the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City and private hospitals in the city as the four-bed isolation ward is in full capacity. The isolation ward in DMC is where suspected cases of A H1N1 virus are being observed.

Currently there are four suspected cases in the ward. The recent cases are; a 31-year old Filipino seaman who recently came from Singapore and Thailand, a 55-year old Dutch tourist, a 22-year old Filipino missionary from South Korea and a 21 year old Filipina who visited Thailand.

Vega said that in case the isolation ward will be filled, they can arrange with the DRH in Tagum City which has a five-bed isolation ward. Also being explored is an arrangement with the private hospitals to have isolation centers where patients can be observed but the swabbing for samples is done by trained DMC personnel. (PIA XI) [top]

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