Arusha — At least 600,000 Covid-19 tests have been undertaken under the Phase One Mobile Laboratories project coordinated by the East African Community (EAC). This was revealed during a meeting of the regional network of public health reference laboratories for communicable diseases.
The mobile laboratories have played a significant role in the partner states efforts in mitigating the pandemic.
"Collectively, the national mobile labs have undertaken more than 600,000 Covid-19 tests across the region since its deployment mid last year," EAC said in a statement yesterday.
The mobile laboratories have accelerated the turnaround time from sample collection from the initial three to five days to the current average of eight hours.
The meeting, however, stressed the need to integrate the project into the existing national public health laboratories and health ministries in the EAC states.
The second phase is set to strengthen the capacities of the EAC partner states to respond to the outbreaks of infectious diseases.
These will include antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which has been declared a global health threat, requiring multi-sectoral action.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared AMR one of the top ten global public health threats facing humanity.
It is occasioned by the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials leading to the development of drug resistant pathogens.
"It has been identified as a global health security agenda," said Dr Isaac Kadowa, the assistant commissioner of Health Services in the Uganda ministry of Health.
The project is financially supported by Germany through its development bank, KfW, and is geared to strengthen the capacity of the partner states in responding to the outbreak of killer diseases.