The Philippine Red Cross on Monday launched a collection site for saliva-based Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing for COVID-19.
PRC Bohol chief Merlinda Batoy said the collection site was set up inside Ubay’s Rural Health Unit (RHU) and was established so clients nearer to the town will no longer have to travel to Tagbilaran City.
“Mas accessible na ni nila, dili sila mabug-atan sa transportation ang mga naa sa nearby towns,” said Batoy.
According to Batoy, the Ubay local government unit requested the PRC to open the saliva collection site to provide convenience and easier access to the COVID-19 testing method which is cheaper than the nasopharyngeal swab testing.
The saliva testing is priced at P2,000 per test, which is P1,800 cheaper than nasopharyngeal swab testing.
In March, the PRC launched its first saliva collection site in Tagbilaran City making the first to offer the testing method in Bohol.
Both branches are open from Sundays to Thursdays.
However, Batoy noted that the saliva samples collected in Bohol will still have to be shipped to Mandaue City where it will be tested at the PRC’s molecular laboratory.
It takes around 40 hours from the sample extraction for the PRC to be able to release the results.
The PRC has repeatedly appealed to the Provincial Government of Bohol through Governor Art Yap to forge a partnership between them so the humanitarian non-government organization can (NGO) have their samples tested at the province’s molecular laboratory.
However, the provincial government has not answered the request.
“We’re waiting for the feedback from the provincial government, wala pa man pud. Actually I gave three emails, wala pa pud g’yud,” said Batoy.
The PRC official noted that Yap had earlier shown interest in partnering with the NGO particularly through PRC chair Sen. Richard Gordon.
“Partnership lagi unta because the governor is very willing to lend us containerized molecular laboratory kanang sa province so the response of PRC nangayo sila og idea pud kung kinsa ang lisensya gamiton, kinsang manpower, kinsa ang mo shoulder sa equipment and if there is an amount na ma incur, unsa ang atong sharing of responsibilities and resources,” said Batoy.
PRC Bohol has also requested its main office for the establishment of its own molecular lab in the province.
The PRC has also yet to respond to the request. (R. Tutas)