PRC to conduct COVID-19 saliva test on 1,000 health workers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2021   •   437

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Tuesday said it will conduct its pilot COVID-19 tests using saliva to more than 1,000 healthcare workers in compliance with the requirements of the Department of Health (DOH) to secure full approval of the new testing method.

In a statement, the PRC said saliva testing is a faster, easier, and more affordable mode of determining the presence of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The method is also simpler and requires less processing.

In conducting the RT-PCR saliva test, the agency said it has partnered with 15 DOH hospitals in Metro Manila to perform the test as part of the healthcare workers’ routine surveillance.

“Prerequisite to the DOH’s requirements, we will test medical front liners as they are the most exposed to the virus. The saliva testing can pave the way to a faster, easier, and cheaper process,” PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.

The test requires a saliva specimen which eliminates the discomfort of swabbing.

It is also believed to reduce costs as the process requires less protection and the need for universal transport medium and swabs. The saliva specimen is also stable at room temperature and does not require cold chain transport.

Gordon said the proposal to use saliva testing is based on studies conducted and approved in other countries.

The saliva testing which has a turnaround time of 3 to 4 hours is expected to be priced at P2,000.

Gordon welcomes PRC decision to reschedule May 2021 Nurses Licensure Examination

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon welcomes the Professional Regulation Commission’s (PRC) decision to reschedule the May 2021 Nurses Licensure Examination (NLE).

On his Twitter post, Gordon said the rescheduling of the exams would be helpful to increase the number of healthcare workers in the country.

According to the PRC Resolution no. 1353 series of 2021, the NLE will be held twice this year. The first will be on July 3 and 4 from the original May schedule. The second will be on November 21 and 22.

He said the call was after several nursing graduates expressed wanting to immediately help their families amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

 

 

Gordon further said nurses should also be given proper compensation and benefits.

The Senator reiterated nurses would no longer seek better opportunities abroad if they receive the compensation they deserve.

“Aside from recruiting more nurses, we need to make sure that they are well-compensated and their benefits are given on time. We must also ensure their welfare as well as their families.” according to his post.

The Resolution read that the rescheduling is “due to the urgent call of the government to augment the workforce of medical professions, especially the Registered Nurses, on the country’s battle against COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution also stated that the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases are willing to coordinate with the PRC in administering a large-scale examination such as the NLE.

They agreed to hold a meeting in July. AAC

FDA, PRC conducting parallel probe on alleged lapses in ivermectin mass distribution

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) have started looking into the mass distribution of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin following reports of invalid prescriptions issued during the event, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH already forwarded to the PRC reports they gathered about the alleged invalid prescriptions issued by doctors involved in the drug distribution.

Last week, the DOH said that members of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens PH allegedly wrote prescriptions on a sheet of paper instead of a prescription pad during the distribution of ivermectin drugs led by Representatives Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor in several communities in Quezon City.

“They already have acknowledged this. Ito po ay nagbigay tayo ng anecdotes at alleged na mga nireport sa atin about the invalid prescription,” Vergeire said.

“Of course, we’d like to know from them the practice of profession itong mga sumali dito na mga healthcare workers natin who are licensed by PRC,” she added.

Vergeire said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gave the instruction for the FDA to conduct a parallel probe last Friday.

Defensor earlier defended the mass distribution of ivermectin despite repeated warnings from health authorities that the drug has not been approved to treat COVID-19 due to insufficient evidence.

The lawmaker also said that the DOH should not go after the doctors who joined the distribution.

Vergeire, however, said that the DOH will uphold the law in addressing the distribution of ivermectin.

“We will act accordingly. According to existing laws that we have in the country, according to identified violations, according to the accountable persons,” she said.

“We are on to that position and direction na i- uphold kung ano sinasabi sa batas. At gagawin po namin yan,” she added.

The DOH earlier said that a valid prescription should contain the date of prescription, the patient’s name, age, and sex. Pertinent details about the prescribing physician should also be included, such as name, office address, professional regulation number, and professional tax receipt number (if applicable).

It also called on those who received the prescriptions and the drugs to report any invalid prescriptions to the PRC, and any adverse reactions to the FDA at (02) 8809-5596 or pharmacovigilance@fda.gov.ph.

The DOH and FDA also urged the public to be “vigilant and sufficiently assess any prescriptions provided to them, as these prescriptions will protect them and ensure accountability from the issuing professional.”

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QC gov’t taps PH Red Cross, clinic to expand COVID-19 testing

Robie de Guzman   •   April 12, 2021

The Quezon City government has partnered with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and a private diagnostics clinic in a bid to further increase the city’s mass testing and speed up the detection of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said they have tapped the PRC and diagnostics clinic Hi-Precision to expand the city’s swab and X-ray testing amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Our partnerships will allow us to pool all available resources, weave our efforts, and immediately address the needs of our most affected communities,” Belmonte said.

Under a memorandum of agreement, the PRC will allocate 8,000 RT-PCR test kits to the city worth around P3,400 each.

Belmonte said the partnership will allow the city government “to test more residents and subsequently reinforce its contact tracing efforts” and increase the turnaround time for the releasing of test results.

Under the partnership with Hi-Precision diagnostics clinic, the city government said the facility has offered to lend its two mobile X-ray units to the city.

The said units, which are worth P3.6 million, will be set up in two of the city’s HOPE facilities and cater to the admitted patients.

“The idea is to decongest our hospitals by putting these machines in our HOPE facilities so that our mild to moderate or asymptomatic patients can have their X-ray done at the soonest time possible,” Belmonte said.

The Quezon City government also said it is also planning to open three additional testing centers which will cater to individuals who are manifesting flu-like symptoms and those who have exposure to COVID-positive patients in the communities.

The existing community-based testing centers are in Toro Hill Basketball Court (District 1), Payatas Super Health Center (District 2), Old Balara Covered Court (District 3), Amoranto Stadium (District 4), SB Park Novaliches (District 5), and Talipapa Senior High School (District 6).

All centers operate Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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