The Navrongo Reference Laboratory in the Upper East Region is set to be upgraded to be able to test for complex infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM).
This is according to a Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye.
This forms part of measures to make more testing centres available in the country to ease the burden on Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) which have since the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana been the main laboratories testing samples for across the country for the virus.
Dr. Okoe Boye, while addressing parliament said “I am happy to say that apart from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra and KCCR in Kumasi, the Akufo-Addo government has worked hard to ensure that within these few weeks, Korle-Bu public health reference laboratory and the UHAS laboratory in the Volta Region have been added to the centres for doing COVID-19 tests. Very soon, Navrongo Reference Laboratory and other facilities will be equipped to add on to our diagnostic capacities for CSM, COVID-19 and other disease conditions regarding modern sophisticated laboratories with the capacity to do Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.”
The Upper East Regional Health Directorate has been pushing for a testing centre for the novel coronavirus at the Navrongo Research Centre in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality.
The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Winfred Ofosu said, “There will be another centre in Tamale for us but we are also pushing the Ministry of Health and the Presidential COVID-19 committee to establish a testing centre at the Navrongo Research centre because we have got the relevant equipment.”
“They have agreed and have actually asked the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) to send their engineers to come and set it up and if that is done, in the next two weeks, we will not need to suffer to send specimens and get results in on time within 24 hours,” he explained.
The University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Laboratory in Ho earlier this week started testing COVID-19 samples after a similar upgrade.