US Provides US$220,000 COVID-19 Testing Materials

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The consignments, presented by U.S. Ambassador McCarthy to Health Minister Lejjja were procured under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project.

United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, on Thursday turned over a US$220,000 consignment of Covid-19 reagents and consumables to Liberia’s Ministry of Health in the capital, Monrovia.

The consignments were procured under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project.

The program is supporting the Liberian Government to accelerate COVID-19 detection efforts by supplying PCR testing commodities. The PCR test is the “gold standard” test for diagnosing COVID-19 because it’s the most accurate and reliable test.

Items donated include 2,000 specimen collection swabs, Extraction reagents for the automated system for 2,400 tests, calibration and reaction plates to enable detection of SARS-CoV-2.

“This will enable the Government of Liberia to take action to reduce and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ambassador McCarthy said.

He wants timely delivery of the items to the National Reference Laboratory for use.

The US envoy lauded the Government of Liberia’s effort in combatting the deadly pandemic and pledged the U.S Government’s continued support in improving the health sector of Liberia.

The surest way to counter potential epidemics or pandemics is to stop an outbreak where it starts, he said.

To do this, he added, Liberia needs effective disease detection and surveillance to quickly identify infectious diseases when they occur and monitor the development of an outbreak. Detection and surveillance are the keys to effectively prevent, respond to and contain infectious diseases.

Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah praised the US government for its assistance to Liberia’s health system.

She said the kits containing reagents will be used by the robots, also donated by the US, in assisting the lab technicians to detect COVID-19 in persons.

“We do have robots that were provided by the United States Government and these are the little things that they need to do the work,’ she said.

“We are very happy today because these are the things that were needed. We were running short, but thanks to the United States government and all of our partners. The lab is back on track and moving and results are going to be available and on time. And all of us, we will be happy and not complain that we are missing our friends.”

Ellen Munemo, Team Lead of the USAID/IDDS project, said the automated extraction kits will be used by the National Reference Lab to extract the RNA materials of the virus to show whether the person is COVID-19 or not. It also detects Ebola Virus Disease.

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