NegOr IATF to discuss requests for free swab tests

NegOr IATF to discuss requests for free swab tests

DUMAGUETE CITY – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Negros Oriental will have to deliberate on guidelines and other matters pertaining to requests from certain sectors for free swab testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

IATF executive director Adrian Sedillo in an interview Monday said the matter has been calendared for Tuesday’s meeting of the task force.

Dr. Liland Estacion, Assistant Provincial Health Officer and concurrent Covid-19 incident ground commander for the IATF here, will be presenting it, he said.

In an interview over the weekend, Estacion told the Philippine News Agency that there are some entities who have requested that their personnel be excluded from the fees that the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital Molecular Laboratory (NOPHML) is charging for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab test.

She reiterated, however, that the swab tests are given for free only to suspect Covid-19 patients, their contacts, and those with flu-like symptoms.

Those requiring RT-PCR swab tests for work and/or travel and other purposes are not covered by the free testing.

The NOPHML is charging PHP3,200 per test although indigents get a discounted fee of PHP2,700, she said.

“We cannot possibly give the swab tests for free to all, otherwise, our resources will be exhausted,” she said in mixed English and Cebuano dialect.

Also, the provincial government, through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, has passed an ordinance stipulating fees and other charges for the NOPHML, making the facility part of its revenue code and thus should be income-generating, for its maintenance, staff payroll, and the like. (PNA)

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