Eight health workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in Mombasa as the county begins mass testing in the region.
The eight were part of the first group of 250 that were tested. Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa County will now conduct 1,536 Covid-19 tests and issue prompt results daily.
The hospital installed equipment capable of delivering 384 tests in intervals of eight hours, with results being released within 24 hours.
It now joins the league of Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), the National Influenza Institute, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Wajir County Hospital and some private entities with capacity for diagnostic testing.
Testing began yesterday with a special focus on medical workers in a county that has so far recorded 106 positive coronavirus cases.
Some 214 medical workers have been tested.Key collaborations Until the launch of services, Mombasa has been depending on the Kemri facility in Kilifi and the National Influenza Institute for tests.
The county is collaborating with Washington State University in the US to boost the service. On top of the installation of the Roche Cobas 6,800 machine at Sh90 million, the hospital also a 500-bed isolation capacity, including 22 in the Intensive Care Unit, provided with the support from the national government and private sector.
Health executive Hazel Koitaba said the county government would also cater for the medication and feeding of the poor and vulnerable patients admitted to these facilities.
Briefing Breaking news, Ms Koitaba said the equipment, which can also be used to test for HIV and other viruses, has been provided by the United States Aid Development Agency (USAid), and the national and county governments.
“All previous Covid-19 tests were being done at the Kemri laboratory in Kilifi and other samples taken to the National Influenza Laboratory in Nairobi. With this equipment installed at our referral hospital, we shall upscale tests,” she said.
Accompanied by hospital administrator Iqbal Khandwallah, Koitaba said the equipment will serve neighbouring counties of Taita Taveta and Kwale.
She said the county government was keen to ensure it curbs the spread of the virus at the community level.
Koitaba said as of Monday April 28, 2020, there were 97 positive cases with 18 recoveries in Mombasa. She added that the county currently has 58 patients in hospital.
Working in shifts Irene Muramba, a pathologist and head of the laboratory department at the facility, said six staff had been trained to use the facility and will be deployed to work in shifts.
“We have done all the ground work and are raring to go. Effective today (Wednesday), we shall start testing for coronavirus right here,” Dr Muramba said.
Chairman of the International Centre for Reproductive Health Kishor Mandaliya said they had supported the Coast General Hospital in the provision of equipment and capacity building for medical staff.
“We felt it prudent to show solidarity at a time when this global pandemic is wreaking havoc,” Prof Mandaliya, who was also accompanied by the centre’s board members Jeniffer Othigo and Esther Getambo, said.
Mandaliya said with the equipment in use, there will be timely tests and results that will prove helpful in the management of the virus.
According to medics, testing is crucial to stem the spread of coronavirus because it allows health care workers to identify the infected and quarantine them, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. This can potentially reduce the number of infections.
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