To improve the testing capacity in the country while protecting the welfare of the healthcare workers, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has distributed specimen collection booths in hospitals across the MIMAROPA region. 

Three (3) units of SCBs were successfully distributed to the following public hospitals in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan – Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital, Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto Princesa, and Coron District Hospital.

Patterned to the telephone booth-style swabbing facilities used in other countries, the SCB was designed and fabricated by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Startup Grant Awardee and Palawan International Business Incubator (PITBI) incubatee Future Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME). The SCBs were jointly funded by DOST-PCIEERD and DOST – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST- PCHRD).

To minimize the risks of health workers of contracting the virus from suspected COVID-19 patients, the SCB also known as the “no contact booth” is equipped with clear water-proof acrylic window, semi-disposable untextured nitrile gloves, pressure sensor to prevent outside contamination from getting inside the booth, a FAME-designed temperature scanner that allows temperature to be obtained and recorded in the cloud for easy monitoring of hotpots in areas where the SCB is installed, and caster wheels for easier mobility.

The first unit was installed in Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital on May 8, 2020. The turn-over of the SCB to the hospital was joined by Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito A. Dolor, Vice Governor Antonio S. Perez, Oriental Mindoro Board Member, Provincial Health Officer, and the head of the hospital. Aside from the SCB, 150 pieces of face masks were also donated by DOST-MIMAROPA through its Provincial S&T Center in Oriental Mindoro.

Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto Princesa City, which is the region’s first and only licensed testing center by the Department of Health (DOH) received the second unit of the SCB last May 9, 2020. The last unit was delivered to Coron District Hospital on May 21, 2020 to cater to patients residing in the northern part of Palawan.

The transport of the units from Manila to Oriental Mindoro and Palawan was made possible through the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard.

In case other institutions or private entities would like to fabricate their own SCBs, the design was also made available publicly for free. Designs are disseminated through the DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office and its Provincial S&T Centers in Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindor, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan or online via this link : http://pcieerd.dost.gov.ph/library/fame-design.