Muni University Wants Funds for COVID-19 Testing Centre

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in the past recommended an increase in testing capacity for Covid-19 and one of the suggested areas was to establish more testing facilities to strengthen and increase speedy confirmation of Covid-19 cases. WHO also recommends that countries should have the ability to carry out mass testing if need arises. Besides the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) that is taking lead in the Covid-19 tests, government through the Ministry of Health in May announced the accreditation of 7 more laboratories to carry out tests.

Muni University is seeking for the establishment of a testing center for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases in a bid to help increase in the national testing capacity for the virus.

The University Undersecretary Rev. Fr. Dr. Odubuker Picho Epiphany on Monday told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC)- Central Government that the University based in Arua District, Northern Uganda already has two PCR machines (Real Time qPCR and PCR Thermocycler) which can aid in the testing.

He said that these machines are currently not operational due to lack of accessories and consumables. According to Odubuker, for the machines to become operational, the University will need 113.8 million Shillings.

Dr. Odubuker and other University officials had appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries raised in the financial year 2018/2019 Auditor General’s report.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in the past recommended an increase in testing capacity for COVID-19 and one of the suggested areas was to establish more testing facilities to strengthen and increase speedy confirmation of cases. WHO also recommends that countries should have the ability to carry out mass testing if need arises.

Besides the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) that is taking lead carrying out COVID-19 tests, government through the Ministry of Health in May announced the accreditation of 7 more laboratories to carry out tests.

These included Makerere University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the National Health Laboratory Services, the Infectious Disease Research Collaboration based in Tororo District, the Uganda Virus Research Institute Plague Laboratory in Arua District, Gulu University, Rakai Health Sciences Laboratory and the Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory.

According to Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, these were chosen based on the dynamics of the infection and the availability of testing reagents. She then said that the UVRI was running between 2000 to 3000 tests ever day and that with addition of new laboratories, the country could run up to 10,000 tests.

“If only these funds could be availed, Muni University would then enhance the government efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a testing center for the region,” said Odubuker while giving a brief on the institution’s response to the fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Odubuker appealed to the MPs to intervene and see that the center is established as well as provision of funds to acquire accessories and consumables for the machines. He revealed that the University has already contacted Ministry of Health on the matter and that an onsite visit had been undertaken.

Muni University is seeking for the establishment of a testing center for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases in a bid to help increase in the national testing capacity for the virus.

The University Undersecretary Rev. Fr. Dr. Odubuker Picho Epiphany on Monday told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC)- Central Government that the University based in Arua District, Northern Uganda already has two PCR machines (Real Time qPCR and PCR Thermocycler) which can aid in the testing.

He said that these machines are currently not operational due to lack of accessories and consumables. According to Odubuker, for the machines to become operational, the University will need 113.8 million Shillings.

Dr. Odubuker and other University officials had appeared before the committee to respond to audit queries raised in the financial year 2018/2019 Auditor General’s report.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in the past recommended an increase in testing capacity for COVID-19 and one of the suggested areas was to establish more testing facilities to strengthen and increase speedy confirmation of cases. WHO also recommends that countries should have the ability to carry out mass testing if need arises.

Besides the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) that is taking lead carrying out COVID-19 tests, government through the Ministry of Health in May announced the accreditation of 7 more laboratories to carry out tests.

These included Makerere University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, the National Health Laboratory Services, the Infectious Disease Research Collaboration based in Tororo District, the Uganda Virus Research Institute Plague Laboratory in Arua District, Gulu University, Rakai Health Sciences Laboratory and the Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory.

According to Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, these were chosen based on the dynamics of the infection and the availability of testing reagents. She then said that the UVRI was running between 2000 to 3000 tests ever day and that with addition of new laboratories, the country could run up to 10,000 tests.

“If only these funds could be availed, Muni University would then enhance the government efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing a testing center for the region,” said Odubuker while giving a brief on the institution’s response to the fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Odubuker appealed to the MPs to intervene and see that the center is established as well as provision of funds to acquire accessories and consumables for the machines. He revealed that the University has already contacted Ministry of Health on the matter and that an onsite visit had been undertaken.

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