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COVID-19: Noguchi hoping to clear backlog of 7,000 tests after audit

The Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR) says it is conducting a COVID-19 testing audit and is hoping to clear a backlog of 7,000 samples it is yet to test.

The facility is one of the principal facilities delivering COVID-19 tests in Ghana

The audit comes at a time when the centre has about 7000 COVID-19 samples to test.

The Ghana Health Service on Thursday, July 2, 2020, attributed the backlog at the various testing facilities to logistical constraints.

In a Citi News interview, the Director of the Centre, Prof. Abraham Kwabena Anang said, the move was to improve its testing capacity and also clear all backlog of tests to be done.

“In order to deliver the usual Noguchi excellence, I have put in place a process audit, a quality audit, and an output audit and also an audit to evaluate the entire process. It is part of quality assurance processes. Our goal is to eliminate any backlog that is there. Completely eliminate it.”

“Like we did previously using the pool testing and managed to contain a situation that many countries didn’t even have the capacity to do, today, we have been proven to be right. Even big countries are adopting pool testing. We have the capacity to deliver excellently. We have to put in place a system to be able to deliver on 4,000 or 5,000 tests a day,” he said.

We’re working on speeding up testing for coronavirus

Meanwhile, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it is working on speeding up testing for the novel coronavirus disease.

Over the past few days, persons who have had their samples taken have agitated over the delay in the release of test results.

But the GHS has attributed the delay in testing samples of suspected COVID-19 cases to logistical constraints.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said preparations are underway to salvage the situation.

“We have experienced some delays in the lab. That is because we have a few logistical challenges. The laboratory requires for PCR, reagents, test kits and all manner of things. There is a global scramble for them so even sometimes when you have money, you aren’t able to get one, but we know by the end of this weekend, we are having a consignment arriving and hopefully, next week, we’ll start wrapping up the tests and reduce the delay.”

“But our idea is that if there’s a cause to take your sample, you are supposed to isolate yourself. If there is any reason to take your sample, it means that you are potentially positive, so until you get your results, please try as much as possible to self-isolate,” he cautioned.

At the same briefing, the GHS said it has embarked on an expansion of COVID-19 treatment centres across the country.

This, according to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, is to make available more beds and logistics for COVID-19 case management.

“For the isolation centres in Greater Accra, we have Pentecost Convention Centre and Prampram. Pentecost has a capacity of 600. Currently, we have 207 cases there and so we have space for about 393 people. Prampram Isolation Centre has nobody there now. It is today that we’ll be moving people there so the 160 beds are still empty as far as isolation spaces are concerned. Ga East has a capacity of 85 beds,” he said.

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