Mombasa mass testing halted due to shortage of kits

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Mombasa mass testing.

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Shortage of Covid-19 testing reagents has brought community mass testing in Mombasa county to a halt, resulting in a drastic drop of cases reported daily, county health officials have said.

County Chief Officer of Public Health Aisha Abubakar said currently coronavirus testing lab at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital (CGTRH) has no testing reagents, forcing all samples from Mombasa to be taken to Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Kilifi for testing.

“Because of the shortage of reagents, now we have stopped the mass testing. We are only doing targeted testing for specific people such as people visiting hospital with respiratory complications and specific organisations,” said Abubakar an interview with People Daily.

As a result, residents have been cautioned against misinterpreting the low cases reported daily for a declining rate of infections.

On Thursday, the County reported only seven cases from Likoni, Changamwe, Mvita and Jomvu, one of the lowest figures from Mombasa in the recent past.

Lab overwhelmed

In Mombasa, community mass testing has so far been conducted in Mvita sub county’s Old Town, Likoni and Changamwe.

The county had planned to take the mass testing to Nyali and Kisauni sub-counties, which had been recording significant rise in infections before the reagents ran dry.

“We are now relying on Kemri, Kilifi, but we cannot take many samples because the Kemri lab is used to test samples from all six Coast counties.

It  means if we take many samples, the facility could be overwhelmed,” she said.

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