ILOILO City –Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao district has beenaccredited by the Department of Health (DOH) as testing center for possiblecoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the region. She also thankedSen. Christopher “Bong” Go for the assistance and likewise commended andthanked the health frontliners for delivering selfless public service despitethe risks. Working from homeas she is on a self-imposed quarantine, Baronda coordinated for the transportof specimen samples by her Congressional Office staff from Villamor Airbase tothe Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on Wednesday. The samples wereflown by Philippine Air Force from Iloilo City as well as Tacloban and Cebucities. Cong. Julienne Baronda. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Baronda vowed to“not stop working with the DOH Central Office and the Center for Health Development-6to make sure that Ilonggos get the health service they need in these tryingtimes.” “I thank theDepartment of Health for positively responding. WVMC is now the COVID-19Testing Center in Region 6,” Baronda said in a press statement yesterday afterreceiving the DOH letter about the accreditation dated March 18 and signed byAssistant Health Secretary Kenneth Ronquillo. “Let us continueto unite in prayer as we battle this crisis. With our God behind us, we willtriumph,” she said. Baronda, whocontinues to be healthy and has not shown any COVID-19 symptom while enteringher second week of self-quarantine, asked “everyone to cooperate and heed themeasures that our national and local governments are doing for everyone’swelfare. I ask our dear Ilonggos to abide by the Enhanced Community Quarantinewhich Mayor Jerry Treñas is implementing.” The HouseAssistant Majority Floor Leader requested for the accreditation because she didnot want delays in the testing of possible COVID-19 patients. Her staff alsoclaimed swab supplies and personal protective gears from the DOH Central Officeon Thursday and brought these to the Batangas Port and Manila ports,respectively, to be shipped to Iloilo City through 2Go and Philippine CoastGuard vessels. “Under theDOH’s updated decision tool, only the elderly, those with underlying medicalconditions and those with ailments which have progressed to ‘severe tocritical’ would be tested for the COVID-19 virus,” Treñas said. Yesterday, Mayor Treñasannounced that a DOH-accredited medical technologist would test persons underinvestigation (PUIs) here today, March 21. During thecommittee hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health on March11, Baronda verbally manifested her request to Health Secretary Francisco DuqueIII for the accreditation of WVMC as testing center for suspected COVID-19cases. She also handed a written request to the DOH chief. DOH is alsoworking on several laboratories in Iloilo to “try to accredit medicaltechnologists and centers to read the tests,” he added./PN Baronda imploredeveryone to pray. WVMC is now linedup “for capacitating through proficiency testing and training of laboratorypersonnel. DOH expects to activate key hospitals and medical centers, likeWVMC, after it is done activating ‘sub-national laboratories’ (SNLs) as itadopts the so-called ‘highest-value strategy’ in attending to the COVID-19threat,” Baronda shared the good news. Rep. Julienne“Jam-jam” Baronda of the Lone District of Iloilo expressed gratitude to the DOHfor granting her request for such accreditation. “Time is of theessence. We don’t want delays in getting the results from Manila, so that earlyon we already asked that WVMC be made to do the test. We don’t wantinterventions delayed because the diagnosis is hanging. The disease managementshould start the soonest so that those infected have better chances ofrecovery,” she told Panay News. The citygovernment expects 100 test kits for coronavirus disease to arrive any timefrom Manila. Baronda vowed tocontinue communicating and coordinating with the DOH and other nationalgovernment agencies “so that WVMC personnel are trained at the ResearchInstitute for Tropical Medicine at the soonest opportunity possible.” He said hereceived a call from Health secretary Francisco Duque about this.
President David Granger has committed his Administration’s support to the University of Guyana’s Student Society (UGSS), after the student body picketed the Ministry of the Presidency last week, demanded an audience with the Head of State.After more than a week of waiting, President Granger finally met with representatives of the student body, where he pledged to continue to address ongoing concerns.President David Granger with some of the UGSS members on Thursday“By the time the next academic year starts, most of these problems will be dealt with. Of course, not completely, but we would like to have some of these problems rectified. So we will try to rectify these before next semester and when the Minister of Finance is back in the country, I would like to engage him and it will be in the presence of the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor, if he is still here, and the Minister of Education. This is a grave situation and I would never try to sweep this under the carpet,” President Granger told the students.Among the issues raised were the lack of lecturers, lack of furniture in the classrooms, the presence of animals on campus, lack of recreational facilities, absence of practical assessments, functioning and equipped laboratories for first and second-year students, what are considered unhelpful policies of the University and the perception of lack of respect and regard for the welfare of students by the University’s administration.President Granger said the meeting was “sobering”, adding that while he was aware and had been disturbed about the diminishing conditions at the University for several years, he had never expected that it would reach to such low levels. “What you have described here, which I do not doubt… is very grim. The standards of sanitation and even the infrastructure are unacceptably low,” he told the students.The President noted that he envisions graduates from the University of Guyana participating in every sphere of the country’s development and as such, the challenges there must be remedied as its current described state is hardly conducive to a tertiary learning institution.“I have emphasised the importance of science and I would certainly like to see more scientists coming out of the University, more engineers to build our highways and bridges and roads in the hinterland, more biologists, more chemists and more botanists. This country cannot develop without an efficient University of Guyana so that is my vision. My vision for the University is inseparable from my vision of the country… I will certainly work on this. I have already engaged the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor. I will work with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education to bring relief,” he said.Meanwhile, UGSS President Joshua Griffith, in an invited comment, said the discussion with the Head of State was frank and open and focused mainly on the issues that have been affecting students at the campus. He noted that the commitment given by the President was heartening.“We got the general sense that the President was surprised at the realities on the ground and he did commit to ensure resolutions in the near future for almost everything we brought to the fore. So there is some sense that things will be different very soon,” Griffith said.He noted that the UGSS was appreciative of the engagement with the President even while he acknowledged that there is work to be done by the students themselves.Earlier this month, students began what they said would have been a series of protest actions if ear was not given to their plea. They stood in front of the University’s Administrative Building clamouring for better quality service, among other things.