COVID-19 testing capability at the laboratory in Kilu’ufi Hospital, Malaita province has been successfully installed.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced during his nationwide address this afternoon.
The Prime Minister said this welcoming development now increases the country’s testing sites to four – the NRH molecular laboratory, the Public Health laboratory in Honiara, Gizo hospital laboratory and now Kilu’ufi hospital laboratory.
“We are working with our provincial health team in Malaita to also undertake some renovations to increase the working space in the laboratory at Kilu’ufi hospital,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said expanding COVID-19 testing capability to all our provincial laboratories is a key objective of the Government.
The Prime Minister said the GeneXpert machines that are used for TB testing in most provinces have the capability to also do COVID-19 testing.
Therefore, he said the health team is progressively re-configuring and re-calibrating these machines to be able to undertake COVID-19 testing as well.
“Once achieved COVID-19 testing can be done in other provinces,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said enabling all provincial laboratories to do COVID-19 testing is the best way to respond to any potential community transmission of COVID-19 into the provinces.
To date, he said around 15,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed so far by the NRH molecular laboratory and the Gizo hospital laboratory, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.