Health Ministry gets $32M from ExxonMobil for antigen testing kits

The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 testing capacity has been boosted by a $32 million donation from ExxonMobil Guyana to purchase a quantity of antigen testing kits. 

Minister Hon. Dr Frank Anthony received the cheque from ExxonMobil Guyana President, Mr. Alistair Routledge, at a simple ceremony held in his office on Monday. 

Dr Anthony said the Government is grateful for the generous donation. He explained that as the disease started to evolve, more testing modalities such as the rapid antigen test became available. Initially, only the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was used to determine if a person has been infected with COVID-19. PCR tests remain the gold standard for Covid testing. 

“We have had particular challenges in rolling out PCR testing throughout Guyana because of the geographical locations of some communities. With this particular test, we are going to be able to remove a lot of these barriers because once our health staff is trained, they would be able to do some of those tests in those communities within 20 minutes,” he said. 

Meanwhile, in his remarks, Mr. Routledge said the donation is in keeping with the company’s corporate social responsibility. 

“To date, we have spent over $75 million supporting communities that have been challenged by the disease. This has gone through the Civil Defence Commission, Rotary Clubs of Guyana, Salvation Army to help these persons make it through this difficult time.”

He commended Guyana’s health team for their continued dedication noting that “from testing to treating patients who have caught the virus, has been remarkable.” 

The Ministry currently has 65,000 antigen tests in stock and is expecting another batch soon.