Coronavirus: Work Ongoing To Boost Testing Capacity – Oppong Nkrumah
Government is working to improve the country’s testing capacity for the Coronavirus disease.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, assured that the designated health facilities for testing samples for the virus are scaling up their capacity.
This follows move by the government moved to start tracing and testing all persons who arrived in the country from March 3, 2020, for the virus.
Among the measures under consideration by the state will be the recalibration of existing machines used for testing for Tuberculosis.
“Thankfully the mechanism they use, we understand, is the same mechanism they use for testing things like Tuberculosis and other things and they have a lot of machines within the Ghanaian jurisdiction, some of which have been dedicated to TB and other things, which they are now commandeering to calibrate to assist them also ramp up their numbers.”
“We now have room to say that, actually, what we are going to do is to test 10,000 people within a 12 day-period now using a testing system that is about three times the size of what we use now because we have commandeered a number of other machines, etc,” the Minister added.
Currently, only the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research test for the virus.
The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists appealed to the government to consider setting up at least two more testing centres for the novel coronavirus to complement the existing two.
The association suggested one more lab in Accra and one other in Tamale or Bolgatanga.
It also urged Government to “immediately explore the possibilities of collaborating with researchers at the Universities to at least restructure and resource the Public Health Laboratories, Teaching Hospital Laboratories and selected laboratories at the country's borders with state-of-the-art portable PCR [polymerase chain reaction] devices and certified biosafety cabinets to enable them test COVID-19 suspected samples.”
German researchers first designed a PCR test that could detect the virus and this has become the basis for the World Health Organization's (WHO) test used in countries around the world.