Olam and Temasek Foundation donate COVID-19 test kits

Mr. Kenneth Antwi, hands over the test kits to Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, as Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, Presidential Advisor on Health looks on

Olam International, a leading global agribusiness and supply chain manager, in conjunction with the Singapore-based Temasek Foundation, today donated 100 Fortitude Testing Kits to the government of Ghana in support of its fight against spread of coronavirus.

The two organisations presented a total of 100 kits comprising the Fortune Kit 2.0 and the MGIEasy Magnetic Beads Virus DNA/RNA Extraction Kit, each of which contains sufficient reagents for 200 tests – equivalent to a total of 20,000 test units.

Temasek Foundation, a shareholder of Olam International, supports a diverse range of programmes aimed at uplifting lives and communities in Singapore and beyond. The Foundation’s programmes, made possible through philanthropic endowments, strive toward achieving positive outcomes for individuals and communities.

The primary purposes of the foundation’s various programmes are to strengthen social resilience, foster international exchange and regional capabilities, and advance science and nature.

The Fortitude Kit 2.0 is designed by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is an ‘All-in-One’ kit for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA; while the MGIEasy Magnetic Beads Virus DNA/RNA Extraction Kit can efficiently purify the viral DNA and RNA from throat swabs, saliva, serum, plasma, BALF (bronchoalveolar lavage fluid) and virus culture medium, and is suitable for use in downstream molecular detection. This kit is suitable for manual and automated extraction on MGISP-960 and MGISP-100.

The kits come complete with all the materials required for the RT-PCR reaction, which include the primer probes mix, the enzyme mix, the positive control, negative control and internal control template.

The consignment was handed over to government through the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, and Mr. Kenneth Antwi, National Head of HR at Olam Ghana, presented the items on behalf of the Board and Management of Olam.

“We have previously focused our efforts on helping to improve the safety and welfare of frontline health workers, but with this consignment of testing kits – equivalent to 20,000 test units – it is our fervent hope that the capacity of laboratories in the area of testing will be greatly strengthened and help the country win its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Antwi said.

Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, Presidential Advisor on Health, commended Olam and its partners for the donation and urged other organisations in the corporate community to emulate the example.

Dr. Nsia Asare said the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) and a number of laboratories in the country have played a major role in the fight against COVID-19, and it is a relief to realise that some corporate institutions like Olam have recognised their efforts and are motivated to lend support.

“The work of the Labs is very important, especially in light of the fact that the dynamics of the strain of the virus are different from what we see in some European countries. We require more kits for increased testing, which is why we are grateful for Olam’s gesture today,” Dr. Nsiah Asare said.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, said the Noguchi research facility is a centre of excellence, manned by a team which is very determined to prove that given the necessary inputs and support it can perform beyond the country’s expectations.

“What Olam has done is proof that there is a segment of our society which appreciates what we do here and is willing to help,” he said.

It will be recalled that in March this year Olam donated two consignments of medical supplies to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital (GARTH) and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR), in support of government’s efforts to curb spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Olam Ghana Limited is a subsidiary of Olam International, with a 20-year track-record in Ghana as a major supply-chain manager of agric products and food ingredients. The company is ranked among the country’s leading Licenced Buying Companies (LBCs), and is a leading trader in Ghana’s cocoa beans into European and Asian markets.

With a staff headcount of 1,064 across its multiple business portfolios, Olam Ghana creates employment for a large workforce that services over 15 million distributors, retailers and consumers nationwide, and has earned meritorious recognition from the Ghana Export Promotion Council for its contribution toward expansion of the non-traditional export sector.

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