DOST-Caraga COVID-19 taskforce successfully deployed five (5) units of the Filipino-made specimen collection booth (SCB) in support to DOH’s effort in the conduct of mass testing in the region. With the help of the Office of the Civil Defense-Caraga, the SCBs were delivered since May 28, 2020 to June 23, 2020 to the Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte Provincial Hospital in Placer, Surigao del Norte, Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital in Butuan City, and Siargao District Hospital in Dapa, Siargao Islands.
“This technology was designed to reduce risks of specimen collectors from catching the virus during specimen collection”, told Chief of DOST Caraga- Technical Support Services, Engr. Noel Ajoc in an interview.
Inspired by the telephone booth-style coronavirus testing stations in other Asian countries, the Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise Inc. (FAME) designed and fabricated the SCB. It is compact, well-ventilated, mobile, and tested safe.The design is available for free to the public for humanitarian purpose only. [DOST releases specimen collection booth design to the public].
The SCB passed through validation tests of hospitals and centers in the country including the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) prior to mass production. FAME is a startup grantee of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the mass production is funded by the DOST-PCIEERD and DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD).
DOST Caraga Regional Director Dominga Mallonga said that they are allotting more funds for additional of four more units of SCB to be distributed in other hospitals of the region.
More than safety
Upon arrival of the SCB at the Caraga Regional Hospital, 2020, DOST-Caraga started the trial run of the booth with hospital personnel headed by Dr. Kenneth Jay-R Alberca, CRH Medical Specialist and Engr. Hilarion Pasal.
Dr. Alberca told DOST Caraga that the new SCB does not only provide safety but also offers convenience to medical technologists in the hospital. It will also cut the cost for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). “This is better than what we have right now. We need this for efficient specimen collection procedure”, told the doctor in an interview.
After few mass testing operations in Caraga Regional Hospital, nurse Mercy Yandra, CRH Chief Nurse said they have received some complaints from their medical technologist about discomfort and inconvenience of using their improvised specimen collection booth. “Our medical technologist is on full PPE while conducting mass tests. We have an improvised specimen collection booth but it’s too hot specially when on PPE”, Nurse Mercy added. The new SCB is equipped with aircon, ventilator, pressure scanner and air filter.
The hospital conducts mass swab testing twice a week. With the new SCB, they hope for easier and safer testing operations in the hospital to trace and slow down the spread of the virus in the region.
Dr. Alberca expressed his gratitude to DOST-Caraga and other agencies for such initiative to support the frontliners in this health crisis. “We are grateful to be one of the recipients of this technology. I hope we can do more of this in Caraga”, he said.
Written by: Dionard N. Mendova, DOST-Caraga S&T Promotions625