State of the art equipment to ease testing load

29 April 2020 | Social Issues

Old Mutual Namibia handed over two QIAcube Connect analysers valued at N$1.781 million to the Namibian Institute of Pathology (NIP) yesterday, following the installation thereof last week.
At the handover, Old Mutual Namibia group CEO Kosmas Egumbo said the equipment will enhance NIP’s Covid-19 testing capacity.
Besides the equipment bought by Old Mutual Namibia, Egumbo said another component of the donation is N$1 million that will go towards strengthening contact tracing capacity.
“We have considered this support package informed by experience gained and lessons learned from countries that have been fighting the impact of Covid-19,” Egumbo said. “That experience reveals that large scale testing followed by effective tracing and isolation and treatment significantly contributes to early ‘flattening of the exponential infection curve’, which will alleviate the pressure on our limited health facilities.”
He added that the equipment will be used to prepare samples for testing – an important function that is currently being performed manually. “The manual extraction of 48 samples takes anywhere between 4 to 5 hours by two individuals, each doing 24 samples. With the automated extraction, in a normal eight hour shift, NIP will be able to extract 72 samples as one person can run both machines, taking 12 samples at a time,” he said.
Some of the key features and benefits of the instrumentation is that automations significantly reduce human error, improve standardization which gives rise to high quality yielding samples, enhance reproducibility and reduce hands-on time.
“Post Covid-19, NIP can still use these instruments for research purposes, thus increasing Namibia’s test repertoire. I am confident that NIP’s medical technicians and researchers will use these machines to the fullest and we are looking forward to increase random testing as the NIP now has the capacity to do so,” Egumbo said.

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