The Liberian Senate on Tuesday received an allotment request for funds to procure portable device for speedy Ebola Test.
Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor in her communication to the Senate plenary explained that the hand-held portable device can be used to test blood samples for the dreaded Ebola virus with results given within 15 minutes.
She said the device is produced in China, France and the United States and is currently on the international market at the price between US$3,000 to US$5,000.
Senator Taylor informed her colleagues that the device manufactured in the United States is called the “Firefly Dx” and is the size of a mini laptop, and that at the small center of the device is a cartridge with a hole where the blood sample is collected and result given within 15 minutes.
“This device is portable and easy to use…in areas where laboratory is not readily available. Fellow colleagues, I am here with a proffer for your support that a budgetary allotment be made available so that this device can be procured for our Ebola fight.”
Senator Taylor continued: “It is my believe that if we aid the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare officials who are rapidly defending those infected with Ebola, it will help stop the rapid increase of the disease in our nation.”
In an earlier interview with journalists, Senator Taylor asserted that at such a low price, at least every county or district should have one device so that more people will know about the disease, be able to detect it and get early treatment. Senator hoped that Government can now make arrangement with both China and United States at the bilateral level for those kits.
The Senator has, however, frowned on Government for not doing well with the information dissemination on the disease to every nuke and corner of the country. She said more money needs to be put into the information dissemination portion of the fight against Ebola.
Immediately after the reading of Senator Taylor’s communication, the chair of the Senate Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women & Children Affairs, Senator Peter Coleman, thanked his colleague for the research which she said she conducted.
The Grand Kru Senator, who is also a Medical Doctor, and represents the Senate on the National Ebola Task Force, however, warned the plenary that Ebola is a dangerous and delicate virus which can only be diagnosed by specialized equipment such as the one he said is currently being used here.
Senator Coleman emphasized that no rapid test is available now for Ebola, but only through specialized laboratory. He suggested however, that further research was needed and that an advice be sought from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and other international disease control agencies, before the Senate approves allotment for funds.
The Senate then voted that Senator Taylor’s communication and the research document as presented in her communication be received and turned over to the Committee on Health, to research the validity of the information and report to the Liberian Senate within one week for the way forward.