Our test kits are not faulty – Health Minister


… Govt repairs ventilators, to recruit health workers

Minister of Health Jappie Mhango says test kits which are being used to test coronavirus meet standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The minister made the remarks in a statement read at a press briefing today, hours after former president of the Society of Medical Doctors Dr. Amos Nyaka cast doubt over the accuracy of coronavirus tests conducted in Malawi.

On Friday, Nyaka said the Ministry of Health should re-test 100 people who were earlier tested for the coronavirus after it was revealed that a woman who tested positive in Malawi on Thursday also tested negative days earlier.

Speaking today in Lilongwe where he confirmed a new case of the Covid-19, Mhango said the test kits are fine.

“All our test kits have met the standards defined by WHO and CDC and our machines and protocol also meet the set standards. In fact, we have been confirming the initial results with NICD in South Africa,” said Mhango

He further said that government has more than 20,000 test kits that were donated by Jack Ma and are currently being used at Community Health Sciences Unit, College of Medicine and Liverpool Welcome Trust laboratories.

According to Mhango, government through UNICEF, is procuring another 5000 test kits to be delivered within a month.

“Ministry of Health is finalising guidelines on the use of GenExpert machines to ensure that testing is available in all district hospitals,” said Mhango.

Commenting on the doubts over the accuracy of tests, Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health Dr Dan Namarika said the public should trust medical personnel in the country.

He said it is normal in the medical field for a patient to test negative and then test positive later.

In his statement, Minister of Health Mhango said government has repaired ventilators in all central hospitals and has provided an additional 20 new ventilators into treatment sites.  A ventilator takes over the body’s breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail giving the patient time to fight off the infection and recover.

Mhango further told the press that government through UNICEF is procuring Personal Protective Equipment for all health care workers.

Meanwhile, the ministry has plans to recruit 3000 health workers and hopes to fast track the recruitment process.