RITM Virology capacitates trainers on NPS and OPS collection, handling and transportation
Participants performing a demonstration activity during the face-to-face training in Baguio City.

In collaboration with the Department of Health-Office for Health Laboratories (DOH-OHL), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) through its Virology Department assisted by the RITM Committee for Learning and Development (RITM-CLD), conducted the 2nd Training of Trainers for Certification Training on Proper Collection and Handling of Nasopharyngeal (NPS) and Oropharyngeal Swab (OPS) on January 10, 2023 via Cisco Webex and January 17-18, 2023 at Baguio City.

The training aimed to establish a pool of trainers equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for the appropriate collection and handling of NPS and OPS samples for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

The virtual training focused on capacitating participants through standardized training modules; while the 2-day face-to-face training allowed for the participants to conduct return demonstrations, hands-on activity presentation critiquing, and training plan presentation.

The past few years have been immensely challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the rapid transition to molecular testing, technologies have been developed to detect viral infections quickly and effectively. In order to achieve maximum accuracy of results and effective patient management, a good sampling technique is needed,” said Technical Supervisor Mr. Rex Centeno on behalf of Virology Department Head Dr. Mayan U. Lumandas.

The training capacitated a total of 20 staff from RITM and seven (7) Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units (RESUs) which were composed of physicians, epidemiologists, nurses, medical technologists, and other allied healthcare professionals responsible for the facilitation of NPS and OPS training in their respective agencies. The RESUs trained were from Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Central Visayas, BARMM, and SOCCSKSARGEN.

Upon completion of the training, participants are now able to facilitate and conduct NPS and OPS training in their respective regions using standardized training modules, and are now capable of designing and developing an efficient training plan.

The knowledge and skills they gained from this training program may help other health care professionals build confidence in specimen collection, ensure safety, and strengthen the regional capacity in both surveillance and outbreak response,” said Virology Training Head and Technical Supervisor Mr. Joseph Bonifacio.

by Anel Azel Dimaano