The laboratory can run 1,000 test samples in 24 hours
Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu University laboratory has been accredited to test COVID -19 samples.
Last year, the University applied for accreditation to run COVID-19 tests at the laboratory, it was later accredited on January 25th, 2021 after scientific validation by Dr Henry G Mwebase, the Director-General Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, the Director Uganda Virus Research Institute –UVRI. After accreditation, about 100 samples were tested and results found to be accurate.
Dr Richard Echodu, the Gulu University laboratory director says that the laboratory is level two and that it shall be run by a total of 15 qualified staff who underwent COVID-19 testing training. He said three out of those staff hold PhDs in laboratory technology.
According to Echodu, the laboratory can run 1,000 test samples in 24 hours and that access to the laboratory shall be highly restricted to avoid students and other University staff from getting exposed.
The 4.5 million dollars laboratory was constructed through funding from the African Development Bank. It was commissioned in January 2020 by President Yoweri Museveni.
Dr Felix Kaducu, the University’s Dean of Faculty of Medicine revealed that samples from health facilities and communities shall be tested free of charge but emergency testing and samples from corporate companies shall be charged following advice from the Ministry of Health in a bid to sustain the day to day running of the laboratory.
According to Kaducu, Gulu University will continue writing more proposals to donors through the government to get more test kits and reagents to run tests and that they still need few things to fix in the laboratory in a bid to elevate it to biosafety level three to match the standard of Uganda Virus Research Institute.
Dr Paska Apiyo, in–charge of COVID-19 treatment center at Gulu Regional Referral says that the accreditation shall ease the management of the pandemic in the region since testing and isolation of patients shall be done quickly to avoid spread to other people.
Apiyo said before, they used to take test samples to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe or another laboratory in Adjumani and that it used to take between four days to one week before they receive the results, something that greatly hindered their work.
According to COVID -19 situation report by Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, as of last week, there were a cumulative number of 670 positive cases and out of those, 658 were discharged upon recovery while 16 were referred to Mulago Hospital for future management.