Monrovia — As part of its many contributions to aid Liberia in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Government, through the USAID Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDD) Project has donated a huge consignment of COVID-19 testing kits.
The items containing detect whether a person has COVID-19 or not was presented to the Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah by United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy.
Ambassador McCarthy expressed delight over his government’s continued support to Liberia’s COVID-19 fight and called for the swift delivery of the items to the National Reference Laboratory for used.
He 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.
Receiving the items, Minister Jallah, on behalf President Weah and the government thanked the United States Government for the ‘timely’ donation and said it will bring the national reference lab back on track and running.
She revealed that 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 a persons.
“We do have robots that were provided by the United Stated 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.”
Speaking earlier, Madam Ellen Munemo, Team Lead of the USAID Infections Disease Detection (IDD) and Surveillance (IDD) Project put the cost of the items at US$220,000.
She noted that 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, adding that it can also detect Ebola Virus Disease.
Liberia’s reference lab has been recognized as one of the best in the world owing to its accurate and robust COVID-19 testing. The country is also hailed for its effective COVID-19 fight.
Speaking in a brief interview with reporters after the presentation exercise, Madam Munemo said IDD’s gesture is to aid the government to making sure that it conducts testing and results are given on time, especially at a time that monetary value has been attached.
“All travelers are required to take their test and monetary value attached. So, this is going to aid the government to making sure that tests are conducted at any given time and results are given. The lab is one of the best labs in the world and we want to help it maintain that standards,” she averred.
Liberia continues to make significant strides in its COVID-19 fight. Since the outbreak, fatality rate has reduced drastically.
Recently, the country received 96,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped via the COVAX initiative, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF and WHO.
The arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), marks the first batchof vaccine shipped to Liberia by the COVAX initiative as part of its unprecedented efforts to deliver at least two billion doses of the vaccine globally by the end of 2021.