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General News of Thursday, 2 July 2020

Source: Happy 98.9FM

Coronavirus: Pressure returns to Noguchi as testing centres fold up

The COVID-19 pandemic caught Ghana unawares at the initial stages. At the beginning of this national crisis, the country depended on the Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) for the testing of samples suspected to be COVID-19.

As the Ghana situation got worse and pressure mounted on these two (2) testing centres, seven (7) additional centres were set up to help speed up analysis of samples for COVID-19 cases.

Unfortunately, information reaching Happy 98.9 FM indicates that all the testing centres but the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) have ceased to function.

According to Dr Kofi Bonney, Senior Research Fellow at NMIMR, the other testing centres have been forced to shut down because they have run out of resources for conducting COVID-19 tests.

Speaking to Happy 98.9 FM’s Samuel Eshun, host of the Happy Morning Show, Dr. Bonney said, “The other testing centres that came on board have folded up because they have run out of logistics. So, the pressure is back on Noguchi.”

The research fellow admitted that Noguchi is now working under intense pressure and conducting around 2,500 to 3,000 tests per day but still has backlogs.

Speaking on the closure of the other testing centres, he explained that these testing centres have run out of consumables needed for the processing of COVID-19 samples and are yet to be restocked by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Dr. Bonney noted that these testing centres have their machines for testing alright but the consumables added to the COVID-19 samples were what they had run out of stock with.

The research fellow disclosed that Noguchi still had consumables for testing because as a research lab, they already had some of these resources and always fall back on them when do not receive any supply from the GHS.

He was however quick to mention that Noguchi could still use the machinery of the other testing centres now that they have run out of consumables. “We will transport some of the samples to the other testing centres and use their machines for the testing. This is a strategy to help us reduce our backlog.”

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