MoPH working to establish network of labs to test for COVID-19

DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 13, 2020

The Ministry of Public Health is seeking to adopt additional methods of testing for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to expand those services to the laboratories of some of the private medical institutions.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud said currently several private medical facilities can take samples as they were provided with the prerequisite kits, swabs and forms for patients to fill out, as part of the initial stage of testing.

Dr. S Persaud jpg

Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

These samples are then sent to the National Reference Laboratory ─ the lone authorised testing site in Guyana.

The CMO said the ministry is working to establish a network of laboratories across the nation with quality assurance.

“Hopefully they will not just take samples and send them to the public health lab but take samples and test them. We are working on a quality assurance system. Even if they use another method of testing which is not recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), we must be able confirm those persons they have detected.”

Dr. Persaud pointed out that most of the private medical facilities have established screening services so “before persons are admitted checks for high temperatures, respiratory symptoms are conducted in the effort of trying to identify possible early cases.”

The senior medical official also disclosed that some of the private lacked the required capacity for isolation units and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, following recommendations from the National COVID-19 Task Force, the ministry continues to assist to ensure these private medical institutions can meet the required standard.

Relative to the protection of health workers attending to COVID-19 patients at the identified medial outpost, Dr. Persaud said adequate PPE will be sought and provided.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.