Maputo — Nampula (Mozambique), 3 Jul (AIM) - Mozambican Health Minister Armindo Tiago on Thursday inaugurated a laboratory in the northern city of Nampula that can test for the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
The new laboratory is provisionally installed within Nampula Central Hospital, and will serve the northern three provinces (Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado) and part of the central province of Zambezia.
Laboratory tests for other diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, can also be run at the new facility, but its main purpose is to diagnose patients with the coronavirus. Nampula is the province worst hit by Covid-19. So far 300 people in the province have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, which is almost a third of all cases in the entire country.
According to the health authorities, Nampula City, the provincial capital, was the first area in Mozambique where the Covid-19 outbreak shifted from an epidemic with foci of transmission to an epidemic with community transmission. A rapid epidemiological survey in late June showed that five per cent of residents in the city had antibodies for the coronavirus in their blood, and had thus been in contact with the virus.
Up until June, all testing for the coronavirus, in both the public and the private sector, was done in Maputo, and was thus dependent on flights between Nampula and Maputo, leading to inevitable delays in announcing the test results. Coronavirus testing began in Beira in June, and has now been expanded to Nampula.
Tiago said that laboratory diagnosis of coronavirus infection is a key pillar for controlling the spread of Covid-19, and is recognised as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The new laboratory, he stressed, will allow greater speed in diagnosis.
He urged the laboratory staff "to use the equipment correctly, to guarantee its longevity. I am pleased because, during my visit here, I found a motivated team which is strictly observing the measures of prevention against Covid-19".
The equipment was offered to the Ministry of Health by the company McNet whose chairperson, Rogerio Samo Gudo, told the inauguration ceremony that it made the donation "because of the need to defend the fundamental values of the human person. "The protection of life is part of our main values for the development of human capital in Mozambique", he declared.
"This situation requires a pooling of efforts to overcome this invisible enemy", said Samo Gudo. "That's why McNet, as part of its social responsibility, decided to join the government's efforts to expand active surveillance of the disease in Nampula city and province, by providing equipment that can identify new foci of inspection early on".