Dr Kobby Okyere Darko, Western Regional Minister
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The Sekondi-Takoradi Veterinary Service Department has declared its readiness to use its laboratory for the novel coronavirus disease testing as part of processes to expand the number of testing facilities across the country.
The move is also meant to facilitate speedy testing of Covid-19 cases.
The veterinary laboratory has the requisite biosafety facilities (Biosafety Level 3+) for samples to be safely contained.
It would be recalled that President Akufo-Addo, during his address to the nation on Sunday, remarked that the government was making significant investments in the laboratory at the Veterinary Services Department in Takoradi and others across the country to help ensure a testing centre per region.
The Western Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr. Simon Gbene, told DAILY GUIDE that the facility was 'equally efficient' as that of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research when properly utilized.
He added that about a thousand samples could be tested each day at the facility.
“It is one of the topmost in the whole of West Africa. In fact, it is biosafety level three and it is the same as the one Noguchi is using, just that theirs is bigger. So we are well resourced.
“For Western Region, I don't think we will be having any backlogs. Any sample that comes, we can run it on the same day,” he said.
He mentioned that already some staff had been taken through some training and that a second phase of the training and simulation was expected very soon before the centre finally started doing real testing.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who visited the centre recently, stressed the need for corporate entities to support the fight against the Covid-19.
“We believe that a key ingredient in tackling this disease is testing. If we are able to test as quickly as possible, we can isolate as quickly as possible and start treatment,” he said.
He hinted that a team of biomedical scientist from the Public Health Laboratory of the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Sekondi would be dispatched to augment the staff at the laboratory, so they could run the test effectively.
Already, Eagle Properties, parent company of Eagles Lodge and The Palms, all in Takoradi, have donated an amount of GH¢25,000.00 for some minor repair works needed to be undertaken to make the laboratory fit for the purpose.