ILIGAN CITY (PIA) – To capacitate the City Health Office in bulk-testing tuberculosis (TB), the local government of Iligan, through the Iligan Medical Internist receive two sets of GeneXpert machine from the Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Business and Social Program (PBSB), a non-government organization.
Strategically placed in two end-to-end barangays in Iligan, the four-module machine was turned-over to Barangays Hinaplanon and Tomas Cabili to diagnose residents from the east and west side of the city.
Jhun Ronald Gilbolingo, DOH Region 10’s TB technical staff and a PBSP member, said the GenXpert machine can test four sputum samples at a time, and results will come out after 2 hours.
“Mao ni siya’y latest nato nga machine na maka-detect sa atuang TB. Not only TB, but ang atuang resistance pattern sa atuang rifampicin nga tambal, in which ang rifampicin natu mao na siya’y strongest nga klase sa tambal nga maka-defeat sa TB,” he added.
[This (GeneXpert) is the latest machine that’s capable to detect TB. Not only TB, but also our resistance pattern to rifampicin – the strongest type of medicine that could defeat TB/]
Moreover, Gilbolingo said PBSP will supply the cartridges to be inserted to the machine where sputum samples will be placed and determined.
Aside from TB detection and resistance pattern determination to rifampicin, the GeneXpert machine could also be used for assessing the viral load of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and COVID-19 testing.
“This is the same machine that our Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) is using to identify COVID-19 positive patients, however, we need a laboratory that is accredited to level 2 biosafety to allow this procedure,” Gilbolingo added.
Considering the economic and social adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to the city, vice mayor Jemar Veracruz weighs TB as ‘serious’ as COVID-19 when it comes to its infectiousness.
“While our campaign against COVID will continue, we should not forget other campaigns, like the campaign against TB. It’s equally serious. We see the gravity of seriousness that the disease could bring to our people. Therefore, we should also take this as important,” Veracruz explained.
Veracruz shared that TB data given by the World Health Organization showed that every second someone is infected with TB, and every 10 seconds someone dies of TB.
Furthermore, the vice mayor calls on residents to take advantage of the provision of this technology for earlier TB detection and medication in the two barangays.
“The lab that we have, the GeneXpert machines that we have are ready, our people are ready, and our city health personnel are ready to attend to them,” Veracruz encouraged. (CLGV/PIA-ICIC)