Aug 14, 2020 News Comments Off on COVID-19 testing machine left on wharf for months
– Minister Dr. Frank Anthony
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine which was given to Government to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity was neglected for months.
This was disclosed by the Minster of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, when he appeared on Kaieteur Radio’s Room 592 on Monday.
According to the Minister, the PCR machine was donated by the National Atomic Agency and was left lying on the wharf for a long period of time amid the raging global pandemic. This, the Minister noted, would have provided the much needed assistance to the Ministry in the execution of its COVID-19 response.
During his interview, the Minister revealed that the country’s current testing capacity at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory is limited due to the lack of medical personnel as well as sufficient PCR testing machines.
“The machines that we have at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory can probably do about 80 tests or so per day… we’re trying to add more capacity and hopefully I can lift that capacity to about 300 tests per day and that’s one of the things we are working on,” Dr. Anthony said.
Moreover, Dr. Anthony stated that in an effort to increase the testing capacity, the Ministry has procured an additional (PCR) testing machine. This new machine, he added will increase the number of tests samples processed daily as well as decrease the amount of time it takes for test results to return.
He revealed that “…with these machines, we are going to try to scale up our response, but machine alone is not going to help us. We need technical personnel to be trained. As it is, we only have two persons at the lab who were doing these PCR tests and as you can imagine, they are being overworked. So as of this week, in collaboration with PAHO, we are going to be training medical technologists who already exist within the system.”
According to Dr. Anthony, the training will be conducted by a PAHO consultant from Washington D.C. and will target 20 to 30 medical technologists from both the public and private health sectors in an effort to increase the country’s ability to effectively monitor and treat the country’s COVID-19 cases.
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