Microscopy training facility in Tuguegarao
Microscopy training facility – Tuguegarao City

The renovation, refurbishment, and set-up of three collaboration centres for malaria in the cities of Davao, Tuguegarao, and Puerto Princesa have already been completed. One more centre is being established in Zamboanga.

The collaboration centres in Davao and Zamboanga cover regions in Mindanao; the one in Tuguegarao covers Luzon; and the one in Puerto Princesa solely caters to the island of Palawan, which continues to account for about half the number of cases in the country. These centres aim to centralise all resources in the said areas and bring them within ready access of the health service providers.

The collaboration centres are facilities established with their own structures and systems, designed to provide a package of technical assistance geared towards strengthening and sustaining the quality of malaria care services. They serve as a sustainability mechanism to keep track of all achievements on malaria control for the prevention of new resurgence in cases and acceleration of ongoing malaria control initiatives to levels of complete elimination. These are all in line with the medium-term development plan of achieving country elimination status by 2030.

The centres’ quality assurance services focus on malaria diagnostic and treatment capacities, and malaria prevention activities, specifically vector control. The thrust at every collaboration centre revolves around providing the venue and manpower for the conduct of trainings (malaria diagnostic and treatment, vector control) as well as the conduct of routine and special quality assurance activities; these include proficiency testing of microscopists, evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests, therapeutic efficacy studies, and in the case of entomological studies, bioassays and susceptibility studies.

For the conduct of microscopy training activities (basic skills training, malaria microscopy refresher courses), each collaboration centre was provided with one unit 10-header training microscope, 15 units of stereoscope, and laboratory supplies for insectary, slide bank, and giemsa production.

The establishment of the collaboration centres is a joint undertaking among Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., thru the funds from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Department of Health; local government units; and other stakeholders. In Palawan, the renovation of an existing building that houses the collaboration centre was funded by the Malampaya joint venture partners: Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., Chevron Malampaya LLC, and Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation.

By Ynna Lauron

Article published on PSFI news magazine October 2016 issue

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