Rapid tests to be used

04 January 2021 | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Government has changed its mind and will now make use of Covid-19 rapid tests received through numerous donations at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe said recently.

Namibia has in the past indicated that it will only rely on the PCR test, which is believed to be more reliable than rapid tests.

This turnaround comes in the face of a spike in Covid-19 testing, which has overwhelmed testing laboratories countrywide and led to a massive backlog of test results.

According to Nangombe, these testing kits are currently being studied by the Namibia Institute of Pathology and other external stakeholders.

“A document for the guidelines to be utilised for the use of the rapid test kit have been finalised and in the next week or so, we should roll out the use of the rapid test kits,” he said.

Backlog

In a statement issued by the health ministry last week, it was announced that the backlog of testing has negatively affected the testing of samples from hospitalised patients, contact tracing and active contact testing.

In this regard, Namibians are urged to stop ‘unnecessary’ testing such as travellers who travel to countries where a PCR test result is not required.

“We have a high demand of people who want to travel outside the country and so the capacity of Pathcare was outstripped and there was a backlog.

“We had a meeting and discussed how we can expedite the production of these results and how we can strengthen the system to make sure the backlog is worked out,” Nangombe said.

He also urged those who have been swabbed to isolate while they await their results and not put others at risk.

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