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COVID-19: Africa’s testing capacity increases from 13,200 to 105,000

The laboratory testing capacity of many African countries have increased greatly compared to when the Coronavirus pandemic hits the world.
This is due to the support of the African Development Bank (ADB).
A statement on Saturday indicated that the daily testing capacity of African countries rose from 13,200 at the beginning of the epidemic to 105,000 currently.
Strongly supported by the African Development Bank, African, countries have achieved a logistical and scientific feat.
“As soon as the pandemic began, the Bank provided $2 million in emergency assistance to help the World Health Organization strengthen its capacity to support African countries.
“Since March last year, the Bank has been helping countries cope with the health emergency and the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, notably through its Covid-19 Response Facility of up to $10 billion,” the statement noted.The Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development of the ADB, Atsuko Toda, said that the increase in the testing capacity has given the continent a major victory against the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The challenge for African countries was to control contamination but also to relax restrictive measures to allow economies to reopen because the long-term extension of containment measures risked creating an economic and social crash,” said Toda,
The statement, however, noted that early detection has been instrumental in limiting the spread of the virus and has helped countries trace, isolate and treat confirmed cases.
When the first case of contamination was announced on 11 March 2020, Côte d’Ivoire had no laboratory for detecting the coronavirus; it now has about 10.
In Burkina Faso, which initially transported its samples to Dakar, the number of screening laboratories has increased from 7 to 18, thanks to the support of development partners, including the African Development Bank. Test results are now obtained in 48 hours.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has set up testing centres across Africa’s most populous country to detect individual cases.
In Kenya, machines initially intended to test for HIV, tuberculosis or avian influenza, were redirected to detect Covid-19, before the arrival of new machines acquired by the government.
According to statistics compiled in March 2021 by the African Development Bank’s Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Complex (RDVP), the number of analytical laboratories in Malawi has increased tenfold from 14 to 164 and 2.5 in Ethiopia to 66; in the Central African Republic, five new screening laboratories have been established.
The results have been enormous. South Africa increased the number of daily screenings by seven times from 5,000 to 35,000, Ethiopia (3,000 to 12,400) and Burkina Faso (268 to 1,160).
Nouridine Kane Dia, representative of the African Development Bank in Niger, recently praised the Bank’s support to this fragile Sahel country because, “the Bank’s support has helped to strengthen Niger’s capacities to respond more effectively to future pandemics and public health shocks.”
In total, according to the Bank’s RDVP, the support of the Bank and other partners has increased the daily testing capacity of African countries from 13,200 at the beginning of the epidemic to 105,000; 100,000 health workers have been trained and 314 intensive care units are now available for Covid-19 patients, compared to an average of 50 at the beginning of the disease.
“It’s a race against time, won hands down. Now we have to win the war against the coronavirus,” said Toda. “We started almost from scratch. When we look at the progress made in a few months, we realise that we have come a long way.”

Written by ExpressDay

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