RITM-MBL conducts remote lab assessment in Zamboanga

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), through its Molecular Biology Laboratory (MBL), conducted a laboratory assessment for the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) as part of the Molecular Laboratory Quality Assurance Program of the COVID-19 Laboratory Network on November 8-9, 2022. 

Three technical staff, Lei Lanna Dancel, Niquitta Galap, and Maria Carmen Corpuz, visited ZCMC and assessed the laboratory’s operational processes and procedures for SARS-CoV-2 Molecular Detection and participation in the QAP. They also verified ZCMC’s implementation of the laboratory quality management system (LQMS), identified best practices, areas for improvement, addressed technical concerns and provided recommendations for overall quality improvement.

The laboratory assessment is part of the Institute’s efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Quality Management System in COVID-19 laboratories to ensure that they are able to contribute quality output and services to the country’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response.

Pursuant to the Department of Health’s Memorandum 2021-0332: Guidelines on the Implementation of the Molecular Laboratory Quality Assurance Program for the COVID-19 Laboratory Network, the Institute is mandated to conduct the laboratory assessment for all COVID-19 laboratories.

QAP is envisioned to result in a more cohesive and responsive laboratory network consisting of all DOH-licensed COVID-19 PCR Testing Laboratories, wherein Quality Assurance laboratory data can contribute to the improvement of disease clinical management, control of COVID 19 disease transmission, and development of adequate and timely interventions and preventive public health measures.

Starting November 25, 2022 to April 2023, MBL is set to conduct the Online Training Workshop for Regional Implementors of the COVID-19 Quality Assurance Program for SARS-CoV-2 Detection by Real-time PCR. This comprehensive virtual training intends to equip members of the CHD-RLNU, DOH-HFSRB, and the CHD-RLED in facilitating QAP elements and implementing QAP intervention measures in accordance with the department memorandum. 

The conduct of laboratory assessment is one of the major activities under QAP. Since the QAP’s launch in September 2021, MBL has been able to conduct laboratory assessment for a total of 34 laboratories across the country,  administered two proficiency test events for the laboratory network, spearheaded 15 laboratory investigations, rolled out four technical guidance documents,  completed nine major technical assistance requests, establish the LQMS online course at the DOH Academy, train a total of  293  laboratory staff, and continuously monitor key performance and laboratory quality indicators of about 300 COVID-19 Molecular Laboratories on a daily basis.

By Reina Manongsong, Communication and Engagement Office