Kenya receives mobile labs to enhance testing capacity

Kenya has received two mobile laboratories from the German government to help in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. 

Speaking in a press briefing German ambassador to Kenya Annett Günther said the Mobile laboratory equipment will help increase Kenya’s testing capacity.

Ambassador Günther who spoke outside Afya House during the daily briefing on Covid-19 said Germany stands with Kenya in the fight against the pandemic and hailed the measures taken by the Kenya government in dealing with the disease.

The German government donated nine mobile labs to East African member states out of which Kenya received two.

The two mobile laboratories are equipped with modern equipment and have a combined capacity to test 2000 cases.

With cross border infections continuing to rise, Kenya has scaled up efforts to contain the virus including the closure of Tanzania and Somali borders, mandatory testing of truckers and those positive have been denied entry into the country.

The donation by Germany is a boost to the efforts with CS Health Mutahi Kagwe saying one lab will be stationed at Namanga, and the other at Naivasha which is Kenya´s dry port.

He noted that the government is proactively looking to enhance its capacity in mitigating Covid-19 disease by strengthening disease surveillance and response systems.

So far 49,405 people have been tested against a target of 250,000 by the end of June. The Ministry of Health has been working with development partners to ramp up its surveillance testing mechanisms slowed down by lack of testing components owing to the global shortage.

“The mobile labs have combined capacity to support 2,000 tests per day and couldn’t have come at a better time to complement existing laboratory network; CS Health”, he said.

He added “It is imperative to scale up adequate and efficient preventive measures. We are proactively looking to enhance our capacity in mitigating these health challenges by strengthening our disease surveillance and response systems. Strengthening of our laboratories network is a key pillar in this”.

The country has seen a rise in the Covid-19 cases detected among truck drivers at various border points.

“We have seen a rise in cases among truck drivers. They endure long journeys waiting to be tested, we apologise the inconveniences they endure,” said CS Kagwe adding that “the country has put in measure to test drivers on time and prior to their journey and receive a repeat test after 14 days.”

In addition to the labs, Kagwe said “we are receiving mobile lab consumables, accessories, PPEs, satellite phones and electrical systems to use in the labs.”

East African Community and Regional Cooperation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed noted that the EAC secretariat has overseen the procurement of the mobile lab units, training of laboratory experts to operationalize the units and cascade knowledge transfer to build a critical mass of scientists across the country.

He called upon EAC member states to work together to fight the pandemic.

“Our ability to succeed in defeating the is dependent on how all of us in the EAC member states work together given the nature of our porous borders. We must make sure that all our people are getting sufficient support in testing.” Said CS Adan.

Kenya infection cases have surged to 1,029 as of Wednesday, May 20th.

Despite the growing infections, the case fatality rate is at 5.6pc representing 50 deaths against the global average of 6.6pc. UK has 14.21pc, Italy (14.15p), France (15.65pc) and Sweden 12.20pc.

366 people have so far recovered.




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