Kenya expands Coronavirus testing capacity to counties

Written By: Margaret Kalekye
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A special designated isolation and treatment facility, for healthcare workers has been set up at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Four more Covid-19 test kits have been approved in scaled up efforts by the Kenyan government to fight Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Pharmacy and Poisons Board, a body which regulates the manufacture and sale of drugs and poisons within the country has now accelerated regulatory decisions regarding approval of Covid-19 test kits.

According to Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, the board has implemented stringent, expedited accreditation mechanism, which has reduced the process from three months to 48 hours.

“Defeating coronavirus will require agile execution of testing and prompt management of confirmed cases. Indeed the world over, countries have adopted the mantra, test, isolate-treat- trace. Kenya has adopted this mantra”, announced the CS on Monday.

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The authorisation of the four test kits has boosted the testing capacity from the current 10 to cover at least one laboratory in each county and will enable the Ministry of Health to roll out mass testing in the next two weeks.

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The current phase of testing involves deployment of targeted testing with a focus on frontline healthcare workers, identified hotspot clusters in Nairobi, Mombasa, enhancing community-based surveillance and screening truck transit drivers.

So far 13,872 people have been tested for Covid-19 since the first case was reported in the country on March 13.

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The number is however short of the anticipated target by the Ministry of Health due to the global shortage of testing kits and commodities used for sampling.

Meanwhile, a special designated isolation and treatment facility, for healthcare workers has been set up at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The centre, put up through a partnership between the Ministry of health, AMREF and Rockefeller foundation will offer critical care to health workers who are exposed to more danger in fighting Covid-19 with all costs set to be met by the government.

Two doctors have contracted the virus. One has been discharged after full recovery while another is under treatment.

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To ensure adequate supply of medical oxygen in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kagwe has appealed to National and County health facilities to clear any debts owed to oxygen suppliers.

Those holding oxygen cylinders have been asked return them to suppliers. “I am aware we also have a number of Oxygen plants of our own. Facilities with such plants should make haste and repair what is not functional, but also do a quick cost-benefit analysis to ensure we get value for money”.

281 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country.

 

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