Tanzania suspends laboratory chief over COVID-19 test results

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Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania's Minister of Health addresses journalists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, March 16, 2020. Tanzania confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Monday, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. (Xinhua)
Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania's Minister of Health addresses journalists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, March 16, 2020. Tanzania confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Monday, according to the country's Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. (Xinhua)

Tanzanian health authorities on Monday suspended the director of the national health laboratory, Nyambura Moremi, and the quality assurance manager Jacob Lusekelo over allegedly questionable COVID-19 test results.

Ummy Mwalimu, the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, suspended the two officials to pave way for an investigation to be conducted by a 10-member team that she has formed, said a statement by the ministry.

The suspension of the two officials followed concerns raised by President John Magufuli on Sunday about the accuracy of COVID-19 test results released by the national health laboratory.

Speaking in his native town of Chato, President Magufuli said his newly appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mabula Mchembe, had supervised COVID-19 laboratory testing for samples taken from non-humans and some of them tested positive.

Mwalimu named the 10-member special committee headed by Eligius Lyamuya of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences to investigate the collection of COVID-19 samples at the laboratory based in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

The minister said the committee is supposed to present its findings before May 13, 2020. Enditem

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