BAGUIO CITY– Concerned residents raised a number of questions on how come that the donated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) test kits were given to a private testing laboratory instead of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), the designated sub-national testing center in Northern Luzon, that could have been used to vaccinate more people.
Sources, who opted not to be identified for personal reasons, questioned on who authorized the giving of the donated test kits to the private testing laboratory because if the said test kits were directly given to the BGHMC, then the test kits cold have been used to support the expanded testing of probable and suspected COVID-19 cases and that their expiration could have been prevented in the first place.
The sources claimed they have members of their families and relatives who availed of the testing in the private testing center several months ago where they were allegedly required to pay P4,000 each, but upon learning of the presence of the expired test kits in the said center, there is already suspicion from those who have been tested that part of the expired test kits were allegedly used in previous tests which creates doubt among those who tested in the said laboratory.
Earlier, it was reported that some 50,000 COVID-19 test kits donated by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) that landed in a private laboratory in the city allegedly expired that caused an uproar among netizens who raised questions on the same.
However, the health department clarified that the issue on the test kits was on their alleged compatibility with the reverse transcription polymerase chain (RT-PCR) machines and that the RITM does not provide for expired test kits as the same have a shelf life of 6 months.
The sources inquired why were not the test kits directly given to the BGHMC right from the start to support the expanded testing of various local governments in the different parts of the Cordillera and why did the health department allow the same to land in a private testing center.
Moreover, the sources pointed out why was not the compatibility of the kits to the RT-PCR machines not given appropriate attention by the concerned government agencies and the private testing center or BGHMC for these expiring kits to have been used for the immediate use in the mass testing in various places over the past several months.
The sources urged the health department to start working in effectively and efficiently addressing the gaps created by the presence of the expired test kits that landed in a private testing center to ensure that similar incidents are not repeated in the future and to allow the use of the available test kits for the testing of probable and suspected COVID-19 cases in the different parts of the Cordillera.
The sources expressed optimism that the controversial issue be given preferential attention by the various agencies and the private testing center to clarify the doubts created by the exposé on the presence of expired test kits in the city. By HENT