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General News of Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Source: 3news.com

Veterinary Services Department in Western Region prepare to conduct coronavirus tests

Dr. Simon Gbene Dr. Simon Gbene

Western Region Veterinary Officer Dr. Simon Gbene has revealed that the Veterinary Services Department in Sekondi-Takoradi is a Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL–3) facility capable of handling work involving microbes which can cause serious and potentially lethal disease via the inhalation route.

According to him, the facility is as efficient as that of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR).

“In fact, our facility will be able to test about a thousand samples each day,” he stressed.

Dr. Gbene explained that the facility “is one of the topmost in the whole of West Africa. In fact, it is Bio-Safety Level 3, and it is the same Noguchi is using, just that theirs is bigger. So, we are well resourced”.

Regional cases

The Western Region as at Sunday, April 19, had recorded a total of 290 suspected cases.

Results of 111 of the cases have been received. One hundred and ten of the cases tested negative, with 1 positive. Testing of the remaining 179 samples taken from the suspected cases are pending.

Considering the number of suspected cases the region sends for testing, Dr. Gbene said when the facility begins testing there will not be any backlog.

“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,” he noted.

Training

Dr. Simon Gbene revealed that a team of biomedical scientists from the Public Health Laboratory of the regional health referral center at Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital is expected to come and complement their staff to enable them run the tests effectively.

Already, some staff at the facility have received training in readiness to commence testing.



Another training followed by simulation is expected to be carried out within this week after which real testing will begin.

Donation

The Western Region Veterinary Office is among the facilities President Nana Akufo-Addo identified in his last address to the nation on the coronavirus pandemic, which are being prepared for testing of suspected cases.

The measure is part of government’s effort to expand the country’s testing base.

Before the President’s announcement, the Western Region Coordinating Council was already exploring the appropriateness of the facility to be used for testing of the coronavirus.

A preliminary assessment showed that the facility will have to undergo some minor repair works for it to be fit for purpose.

In response for help to carry out the repair works, Eagle Properties, a parent company of Eagles Lodge, The Palms, all in Takoradi, has presented a cheque for GH¢25,000 to the regional coordinating council.

Western Region Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, who received the cheque, emphasized the need for corporate entities to support government’s efforts to combat coronavirus.

Should all go as planned, the Western Region Veterinary Office will be the first facility to begin testing for coronavirus, apart from NMIMR, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) and the National Public Health Reference Lab.

Western Region has only 1 positive case of the coronavirus.

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