The Negros Occidental provincial government commemorated the first year of the establishment of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory in Silay City on Tuesday.
The facility, the first-ever molecular laboratory owned by a local government unit in Western Visayas and also the first-of-its-kind in Negros Island, can conduct up to 1,500 RT-PCR or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests per day.
In rites held at the hospital chapel, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson recalled the challenges faced by the province in testing coronavirus disease 2019 cases at the time when there was no molecular laboratory yet anywhere in Negros.
“The story of our pioneering molecular lab is one of courage and triumph of the human spirit. Looking back, what if we did not persevere? How would be able to test, isolate and treat Covid positive Negrenses, including the incoming travelers on time?” the governor said.
Before having its own molecular laboratory, Negros Occidental had to rely on the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City, and the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City for Covid-19 test results.
Lacson said with available resources such as a biosafety laboratory, and negative pressure, and GeneXpert machine donated to the hospital in 2014 and 2019, respectively, the province worked on establishing its own Covid-19 testing facility.
“We had the resources and we had the resolve. Thus, we became among the first LGUs in the country to have our very own molecular laboratory,” he added.
The governor also thanked the provincial government’s partners from the private sector for their generous contribution to the operation of the laboratory.
During the program, Lacson was joined by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, Dr. Mary Ann Maestral, OIC-hospital chief, Dr. Girlie Pinongan – hospital operations department head, Dr. Leni Montes – pathologist, Dr. Maruja Japzon – chief medical technologist, and Dr. Francis Gabriel Relota, chief of clinics.*PNA