Prime Minister launches COVID-19 Laboratory.
THE National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) witnessed a handing over of additional COVID-19 testing equipment donated by the Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) coordinated by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, 04 August 2020 at the National Reference Laboratory.
The fight against coronavirus is a race against time and every minute that goes by with an undetected case is a call for disaster. The most critical component of response is to continuously and effectively test. It is through this lab that the ministry through NACOSEC will fulfil its mandate in effective and efficient testing and publishing of COVID-19 results. The Executive Secretary of NACOSEC, Mr Thabo Khasipe, said this marks a great milestone for the country in the fight against COVID-19 because the availability of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines will help the Ministry of health in fast track testing and give daily results. “Because of this we will be able to test, trace and treat before the virus can spread uncontrollably” Khasipe said. He further noted that the greatest weapon to fighting the virus is by optimising testing capacity. The lack of testing equipment and technologies is what has contributed to the backlog in the testing facility and this new lab with three new machines will rectify and place the country at a break-even level with the virus until it can be controlled. “The key to overcoming this pandemic is to slow transmission of the virus by preventing contagious people from infecting others,” the NACOSEC CEO noted. This machine is an addition to the already donated machines from World Health Organisation (WHO) and The National Institution for Communicable Disease (NICD). With the country at low community transmission marked as orange in the risk determination mitigation framework, the availability of machine will help flatten the curve. According to Mr Sam Matekane of Matekane Group of Companies (MGC), the machines combined will test at least 1300 to 2000 tests per day. Matekane said they advised themselves to give a helping hand by offering testing equipment to the government in the fight against coronavirus because unity is power. He urged Basotho to report to their closest health facilities when they see signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as requested. The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro said the country has been walking a blind journey in the fight against COVID-19. This is because it was never certain how many people have been infected because swaps took longer to be tested for the virus, “it means many people are walking around with no idea of their COVID-19 status” Prime Minister Majoro said. He said this donation answers directly to the strategies of NACOSEC and that the laboratory is a tool to reaching NACOSEC’s strategy to flatten the curve and raise capacity line of health care facilities. The Prime Minister observed that Lesotho does not have to capacity to care for large number of patients, and advised Basotho to observe social distancing and good hygiene practice so as to not place burden on the already ailing health system. The building was offered by Let’seng Diamonds. “People who assisted in this fight are those with a heart to see Lesotho safe, the contribution of everyone will go a long way in the fight against COVID-19.” Dr Majoro said. This lab’s existence will have impact on the overall sustainability of the health system but primarily, during this pandemic, the control and treatment of coronavirus.