Grassroots fundraiser #LetsMassTestPH aims to raise funds for coronavirus test kits for Filipinos

This is a press release from #LetsMassTestPH

As the novel coronavirus started spreading globally and in the Philippines, demands for mass testing also increased. One of the most effective ways to decrease the number of new COVID-19 cases is through widespread testing, as seen in countries that have succeeded in slowing down the outbreak. But it soon became apparent that in the Philippines, test kits were limited. #LetsMassTestPH is a grassroots initiative that aims to help address this need, by raising funds to purchase more FDA-approved test kits for Philippine hospitals.

The online campaign makes full use of social media, specifically Facebook and Instagram, to spread the word. It is targeting the purchase of 4,000 test kits, specifically 2,000 RT-PCR test kits from China and 2,000 SARS-CoV-2 antibody test kits from Hong Kong. Both kits are FDA Philippines approved. In order to reach the goal of purchasing 4,000 test kits, the group needs to raise $54,000 USD or PHP 2.75M, a price that does not include shipping and handling. The group will donate all test kits to the Lung Center of the Philippines, UP National Institutes of Health, and St. Luke’s Hospital, as well as other provincial hospitals.

The group behind the initiative are three young professionals, who came together to support the cause. Rachel Carrasco-Strudwick, a marketer, and Natashya Gutierrez, a journalist, are both Filipinas who live in Singapore, while Mercedes Torrijos-Joaquino, a lawyer is based in Manila.

“In a place like the Philippines, where the population is massive, mass testing is the only way to stop an outbreak. It works both ways - knowing who to cure or help and also how to prevent the virus from spreading,” Carrasco-Strudwick said. “If we are able to do early detection of those infected, we can help save many more lives. It's not just about the infected person, it's about everybody else around them.”

“This cause is close to my heart because I have brothers and a sister who are doctors. I feel like this initiative helps them and others like them so that they are able to perform their duties without fear.

Access to fast response tests would not only protect our dedicated healthcare workers who are exposed to the virus, but also allow them to stay in the hospitals where their expertise is most valuable,” Mercedes Torrijos-Joaquino said.

“We urge Filipinos all over the world to assist their fellow countrymen in this urgent time of need and assistance. We also request private companies to donate to this cause,” Gutierrez said. “It is under dire circumstances that the bayanihan spirit of the Filipino is most needed.”

How to donate

Worldwide:

PayPal (Credit Card/Online)

Singapore:

DBS
Account number: 0089044400
Rachel Strudwick Pte Ltd

Philippines:

BDO
Account number: 007640014473
Mercedes Torrijos

BPI
Account number: 3089163802
Natashya Gutierrez

Follow #LetsMassTestPH on Facebook and Instagram– Rappler.com