Pharmaceutical company, mPharma has put in place a mechanism to equip 10 private laboratories across the country with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Testing Equipment to augment the services of Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research.
The move is to help the state to test as many people suspected to be carrying the virus over a short period to aid in measures to fight the outbreak of the disease in the country.
Speaking to the B&FT, the Chief Executive Officer of mPharma, Gregory Rockson, the firm wants to set up the PCR equipment by the end of April.
“Across the world, for mass testing to be successful the private sector plays a critical role and that responsibility falls on the shoulders of private laboratories. We have secured PCR machines from some Medical Diagnostic Companies and we working with the Ghana Private Medical Laboratory Asociation to identify 10 labs who will be provided the equipment.
There would also be trainers to take some persons on how to properly use the equipment. With this, we are sure that government will be receiving some significant capacity boost to support its efforts at testing,” Mr. Rockson said in an interview.
He added that the company is making some GH¢1 million investment to acquire the equipment from the United States of America.
“When these 10 labs are ready, government can decide not to invest in PCR testing machines but use these private labs. This is the time for more public private collaboration. This is a national crisis and everyone with the expertise to help must do so.” Each test will be pegged at about GH¢85 to provide some relief to government.
mPharma has also acquired 10,000 testing kits which it will donate to government to supplement government’s efforts to test more people.
Already, the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr. Nsiah Asare has said that the nation has switched fully into a testing mode, and will test everyone captured in the contact-tracing activities. He believes that the development will escalate the number of COVID-19-positive cases, but will also help the country have a better picture of the situation.
He said the PCR test machines based at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Accra and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) in Kumasi will be used for the testing. He also added that PCR machines at Korle-Bu, Hohoe, Ho and Tamale will also be used to support the testing drive.
He further revealed that the Genexpert test, a molecular test for TB dotted across 154 districts of the country will also be used. For him, the test-kits that are being donated to the country by international and indigenous corporate bodies will all be used to push the testing drive.
He told the B&FT in an interview that the country wants to follow in the footsteps of South Korea and test as many people possible, get a good picture and launch a plan on how to stop the virus from spreading. “South Korea tested about 200,000 people; we are hoping to test between 100,000 or 150,000,” he said.