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GROWING DEMAND

Amref receives Sh21 million to begin coronavirus tests

The total number of tests conducted since the first case rose to 87,698 on Thursday

In Summary

• ACL joins the National Influenza Centre at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Aga Khan University Hospital and three Kemri laboratory facilities.

• Oil marketer Dalbit Kenya offered the grant to Amref Health Africa on Thursday.

A medic collects samples for coronavirus testing
A medic collects samples for coronavirus testing
Image: /COURTESY

Amref will begin testing for the novel coronavirus after receiving Sh21 million to start the process.

This will ease pressure on existing facilities that are likely to be overwhelmed by the growing demand.

Oil marketer Dalbit Kenya offered the grant to Amref Health Africa on Thursday.

In the partnership, Amref Central Laboratory (ACL) will conduct testing and analysis of samples.

The first tranche of the grant, Sh10 million ($100,000) was handed over on Thursday, while the next is expected in two months.

Commenting on the partnership, Timothy Skudi, CEO of Dalbit Kenya said, "The World Health Organization has called for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. As patriotic citizens, we all have a key role to play in minimising this pandemic's impact on Kenyans.”

The Amref Central Laboratory, through funding from Dalbit Kenya, has received approval from the Ministry of Health to provide additional testing facilities to help identify and isolate those infected and stop local Covid-19 transmission, which is crucial to reducing infection rates.

ACL joins the National Influenza Centre at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Aga Khan University Hospital and three Kemri laboratory facilities that have been equipped to conduct Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Today, close to 90,000 tests have been conducted in Kenya.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa said, “Amref has built laboratory diagnostic capacity for many years, working with WHO and other partners to develop human resource capability and technical skills required for infectious disease management.”

“With the Covid-19 pandemic and the resounding call globally to increase testing capacity to allow tracing and isolation in containing the speed of transmission, Amref has responded by increasing its capacity to support the analysis of samples.”

In her comments, Dalbit Kenya chief supply officer, Esther Ngero said, "The business community has a unique ability - and responsibility - to assist in this crisis. We are determined to do everything we can to provide funds, extra capacity or infrastructure to health institutions and medical professionals in the battle against Covid-19.''

Data from Thursday's briefing showed that the number of positive cases in the country rose to 2,340 after 124 more cases were confirmed.

The 124 were from 2,640 samples tested. The total number of tests conducted since the first case rose to 87,698.

The positive cases include 119 Kenyans, two Somalis, two Tanzanians and one Eritrean.

Thirty-nine more people were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have successfully recovered to 592.

Three more patients succumbed to the virus, raising the number of fatalities 78.