Molecular diagnostic laboratory set up in South Sudan to detect COVID-19


European Union (EU) and World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday established a molecular diagnostic laboratory in Wau in South Sudan to increase testing capacity for COVID-19 and other high-threat infectious diseases.

Elizabeth Achuei, South Sudan Health Minister, said a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine and other molecular laboratory accessories have been procured and installed for early diagnosis and commencement of specific interventions for diseases control amid efforts to expand COVID-19 testing in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region.

“Testing capacity can be attained through the development of proper facilities and expertise. The establishment of the PCR diagnostic facility in Wau will support patient care as well as public health actions,” she said in a joint statement issued in Juba.

The laboratory will also support influenza sentinel surveillance, virological investigations and support sample referral from the peripheral laboratories in the region.

Since the declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak in April 2020 in the country, a total of 214, 371 tests have been performed in South Sudan, of which 11, 446 samples tested positive, according to the ministry of health.

Wim Vandenbroucke, Head of Cooperation of EU Delegation to South Sudan said the strengthening of the health laboratory in Wau is part of a much wider commitment of the EU to assist the population in the entire South Sudan.

According to WHO, molecular diagnostics is one of the most evolving and essential tools for monitoring and controlling diseases.

Fabian Ndenzako, Acting WHO Representative in South Sudan said ensuring quality diagnostics in laboratories is key to developing a sustainable public health response to infectious disease outbreaks and other global health security challenges.

Ndenzako said the installation of the PCR machine in Wau will strengthen the capacities of the country’s health system and improve the response to epidemics triggered by COVID-19 or any other dangerous pathogen. Enditem

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