Sekondi–Takoradi Veterinary Lab to Begin COVID 19 Testing A Week’s Time

An advanced laboratory at the Sekondi-Takoradi Veterinary Service Department is expected to run COVID 19 testing in the coming week. The facility which is Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3); implies that it is appropriate for work involving microbes which can cause serious and potentially lethal disease via the inhalation route.

For the past weeks the Regional Coordinating Council, under the leadership of the Minister, Dr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, have been exploring avenues to put the facility to use, especially to serve as a testing facility for the novel coronavirus in the Western Region.

Unfortunately, after an assessment of the facility, it was identified that some minor repair works need to be undertaken to make it fit for the purpose.

Heeding to the call by the Regional Minister, for an urgent financial support to undertake the needed repairs, Eagle Properties; parent company of Eagles Lodge, The Palms, all in Takoradi, have donated an amount of Twenty-five thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC25,000.00)

The Minister, in his remarks as he received the donation, stressed on the need for corporate entities to support the fight against the disease. He noted that such effort need to be centralized around testing, as ‘we take precautions in contracting and spreading the disease’

“We believing that one of the key ingredient in tackling this disease is testing. If we are able to test as quickly as possible, we can isolate as quickly as possible and start treatment” he said.

Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr. Simon Gbene disclosed that the facility is equally efficient as that of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. He added that about a thousand samples could be tested each day at the facility.

“It is one of the topmost in the whole of West Africa. In fact it is Biosafety level 3, and it is the same Noguchi is using, just that theirs is bigger. So we are well resourced.
“For Western Region, I don’t think we will be having any backlogs. Any sample that comes, we can run it on the same day” Dr. Gbene noted.

He hinted that a team of biomedical scientist from the Public Health Laboratory of the regional health referral center; Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, will be dispatched to augment their staff, so they could run the test effectively. Already identified staff have been taken through some training.

“A second phase of the training and simulation is expected within the week until we finally start the real testing”, Dr. Gbene said.

When these works are completed as scheduled, the Western Region will be the first among others that the President Nana Addo disclosed in Sunday’s televised message, have been considered, and will be resourced to run COVID 19 testing in Ghana.

So far the region has recorded one positive case of COVID 19 infection. As at Sunday 19 April, 2020, a total of 290 suspected cases with only 111 test results received. Aside the one positive case, the remainder (110) tested negative. Testing of the 179 samples taken from the suspected cases are pending.

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