By Tatenda Chimbwanda
Beitbridge, Zimbabwe – When WHO, Nationwide Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) and Medsure Healthcare groups reached Beitbridge, 640km from Harare, twelve laboratory personnel from Beitbridge Hospital had already examined greater than 6000 samples for COVID-19. The exams had been completed utilizing a GeneXpert machine with cartridges for COVID-19 testing and Actual Time- Polymerase chain response (PCR) exams, just like the speedy testing equipment used for HIV. GeneXpert machines are usually used to diagnose tuberculosis.
“The Abbott Platform exams 94 samples at a time. Along with our three GeneXpert machines which run 4 exams on every machine without delay and the PCR, I’m 100% assured we will take a look at extra samples a day. We’ve already run 500 PCR exams earlier than with our common day by day testing at 200. We’re undoubtedly going to double this as much as 400 a day,” says Persistence Magaya, laboratory technician at Beitbridge District Hospital.
Beitbridge laboratory personnel just lately acquired the Abbott platform, and had by no means used it earlier than. They’d no information of how the Abbott Platform operates in contrast to different hospitals. To shut the information hole, the NMRL and Medsure Healthcare with assist from WHO, carried out a five-day on the job coaching for the laboratory personnel on the best way to use the Abbott Platform to check for COVID-19.
Twelve laboratory personnel had been educated between 20 and 24 July, 2020. “The principle goal of this coaching was to entry Beitbridge’s laboratory for biosafety, waste administration and most significantly to make sure the laboratory workers can use the Abbott platform to check for COVID-19,” defined Tapfumaneyi Mashe, one of many coaching facilitators from NMRL.
“As Beitbridge hospital, this was our first time utilizing the Abbott platform. The five-day coaching, I acquired from NMRL and WHO has offered me with the information and expertise l want to make use of this new platform. We had been taken via all of the steps we have to observe to function the machine. And in addition acquired a sensible lesson testing the samples we collected from the Quarantine Centre,” says Lucy Mwavhera, district laboratory scientist.
NMRL went a step additional and invited Medsure Well being care technicians, the machine suppliers, to conduct an orientation of how the Abbott Platform works. Collectively as a staff, NMRL, Medsure and WHO offered on the job coaching. Assisted the laboratory personnel with accumulating samples from Beitbridge Quarantine Centre. The samples collected had been then run on the Abbott platform. In the course of the five-day coaching the Abbott platform was run 4 occasions to make sure the laboratory personnel might use the machine to check for COVID-19.
“Beitbridge is overwhelmed with testing for COVID-19 resulting from our proximity to the border. We take a look at for COVID-19 on a regular basis as buses with returnees proceed to convey individuals. The Abbott platform will permit us to scale up our testing capability as this machine can take a look at 94 samples at a time. It’s in contrast to the GenXpert machines, which we’ve been utilizing and may solely take a look at 4 samples at a time,” added Otilia Gasva, Microscoptist from Beitbridge Hospital laboratory.
To additional strengthen Beitbridge laboratory personnel’s capability to succeed in the nationwide goal of conducting 1000 exams per day, the Ministry of Well being and Baby Care (MoHCC) gave Beitbridge Hospital the Abbott Platform to make use of for testing COVID-19.
The present Abbott platforms in Zimbabwe have at all times been used for HIV viral load testing. After, the MoHCC approval to make use of the present Abbott platform for Covid-19 testing. MoHCC procured particular SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) reagents with assist from numerous companions resembling Clinton Well being Assess Initiative (CHAI), World Fund and World Financial institution. These reagents will permit the Abbott platform to check for Covid-19.
The Abbott platform coaching is a part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to develop the nation’s capability to check. “Though as a rustic we’ve not managed to hit our 33000 take a look at a month goal. We hope that with the introduction of excessive throughput machines like Abbott platform in provincial laboratories will get us nearer to the aim. As it should permit them to check 96 samples at a time. This may complement their different current testing platforms, in different testing Nationwide laboratories” added Dr Mugabe Muchaneta, WHO’s laboratory specialist.
Gwanda, Bulawayo, St Lukes Lupane and Chitungwiza may even be utilizing the Abbott Platform to check for COVID-19. That is a part of Zimbabwe’s Laboratory COVID-19 testing technique whose predominant aim is to scale up testing utilizing a tier- primarily based method. Laboratories in Zimbabwe will likely be utilizing a mixture of Genexpert machines and RT-PCR machines resembling Abbott platform, Quantstudio 3, ABI7500 to check for COVID-19. Beneficiant funding assist from USAID via WHO is contributing to enhancing laboratory prognosis for COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. Testing for COVID-19 stays vital in well timed detection, isolation and phone tracing to cut back and comprise the speedy unfold of the virus in Zimbabwe.