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Zimbabwe receives equipment to detect COVID-19 variants

by Staff reporter
25 Jun 2021 at 07:52hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE is now able to detect COVID-19 variants after it received a donation of 57 PCR testing machines from a Chinese firm.

Satewave Technologies donated the machines, along with 1 000 boxes of traditional Chinese medicine, Lianhua Qingwen capsules worth US$3 500 which it said could be used to limit the impact of COVID-19 on patients.

The PCR machines can do four tests at any one time, with results expected within 45 minutes.

The country is currently battling a third wave of COVID-19 and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also and Health minister, described the intervention as timely as Zimbabwe is battling to contain the Delta variant which has its origins in India.

"Zimbabwe, like other low-income countries, is challenged by for up to 400 million people across Africa.

This extraordinary regional effort complements Covax and comes at a time when COVID-19 cases in the region are rising. World Bank financing is available to support the purchase and deployment of doses secured by AVATT.

"We really appreciate the extraordinary partnership on this initiative between the AU vaccine champion, President Cyril Ramaphosa and David Malpass, the President of the World Bank," said Masiyiwa who is also the coordinator for AVATT.

The World Bank has $12 billion in vaccine financing available to help countries purchase and distribute vaccines and address readiness issues.

a lack of timely access and limited availability of COVID-19 diagnostic and testing resources, which could affect the ongoing containment measures," he said at the handover ceremony held at the Sally Mugabe Central Hospital in Harare.

He added that vendors in Bulawayo and Harare would be only ne allowed to resume business after undergoing vaccination.

The machines are portable and user-friendly, making it possible for the whole country to upscale testing for the virus.

Apart from testing for SarsCov-2, the machine can also test for HIV viral load, tuberculosis,

The World Bank has already approved operations to support vaccine roll out in 36 countries. By end of June, the World Bank expects to be supporting vaccination efforts in 50 countries, two-thirds of which are in Africa.

The World Bank also has strong partnerships with regional institutions such as the Africa Centre for Disease Control, West African Health Organisation and the AU Commission to enhance cross-border collaboration on disease surveillance, preparedness and response.

The World Bank-financed COVID-19 vaccine operations allow countries to purchase vaccines through Covax, through regional initiatives, and through bilateral procurement from manufacturers.

Speaking at the same event, Satewave Technologies managing director Maggie Xiaofeng Feng said the donation would ensure that the country is able to detect variants quickly and respond accordingly.

"The test kits we are donating today will ensure that variants are quickly picked up thereby raising awareness in the population and helping the Health ministry to craft containment strategies," Feng said.

"The PCR testing machines will not only scale up Zimbabwe's COVID-19 testing capacity, but will also help in terms of disease screening for long-term health strategies and improving Zimbabwean people's health."

On the traditional medicine, Feng said: "Zimbabwe has recently seen a renewed interest in traditional medicines and we are grateful that the Zimbabwean government has supported the use of traditional medicines through the setting up of the traditional Chinese medicine facility at Parirenyatwa Hospital."

Zimbabwe is yet to approve locally-derived traditional medicines for similar purposes.

Source - newsday

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