The East African Community secretariat has obtained state-of-the-art diagnostic kits that can test and confirm deadly viruses including the COVID-19 or the coronavirus.
Acquired from Germany, each of the EAC members Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan – have sent medical teams to the Arusha EAC headquarters for training.
The kit can diagnose coronavirus, ebola and the Marburg virus, a hemorrhagic fever virus which was identified in Uganda.
Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya will receive two machines each, while Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan will each get one kit.
Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, received the kits on Friday on behalf of the region.
They were delivered by German embassy to Tanzania and the EAC.
Until about three weeks ago, there were only two laboratories in the continent of 54 countries – in Senegal and South Africa – with the reagents needed to test for the virus. That meant dozens of nations that had quarantined suspected patients were sending samples to South Africa or Senegal to be tested.
The WHO late last month sent reagent kits for coronavirus diagnosis to more than 20 countries in Africa to step up diagnosis of the virus, which causes a disease now known as Covid-19. The global health body said more countries in Africa were expected to receive testing kits.
In addition, the WHO two weeks ago sent testing kits to Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.
Some countries in Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, were using systems developed to test for the deadly Ebola virus to now test for the coronavirus.
With this kit, once a coronavirus case is suspected, it is diagnosed within no time.