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New laboratory established to test all diseases

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Saturday, August 3, 2019

Staff at Juba Teaching Hospital in South Sudan examine lab results.

South Sudan will soon be able to test all types of disease including hemorrhagic ones, the Ministry of Health has said.

According to an official, the new laboratory will also help in testing Ebola virus in patients.

A week ago, a woman who showed Ebola-like symptoms in Juba was quarantined after the police informed the Ministry of Health of her condition.

Preliminary results came out negative, as samples were sent to Uganda for further confirmation.

This is because currently, South Sudan is only able to use genExpert testing at its existing public health laboratory.

Genetic expert is a molecular test which diagnoses diseases by detecting the presence of bacteria, as well as testing for resistance to the drug –mainly for Tuberculosis.

But the Incidence Manager at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Richard Laku told Eye Radio last week that a new laboratory is being equipped in Juba to test all types of diseases in the country.

He said a rapid and response team of 28 laboratory technicians have been trained deployed to help counter any outbreak of Ebola across the country.

“WHO has assisted us, and we have acquired the required machine. A firm came and established it and everything is now in place and they are undergoing testing,” said Dr. Laku.

Dr. Laku also said the Ministry of Health has gotten approval –from the World Health Organization –for the use of Ebola vaccines in the event of an outbreak.

He said the vaccine is not available in the market because it is licensed to be used during outbreaks.

Last year, WHO trained 20 medical laboratory staff including state laboratory focal persons drawn from national and state level laboratories on practical use of personal protective equipment in the laboratory setting and how to safely manage samples from suspected cases of Ebola, based on international best practices.

According to WHO, South Sudan is prone to emerging and re-emerging disease outbreaks which necessitate prompt and safe management of laboratory specimens to ensure accurate and timely confirmation of the causative agent such as Ebola Virus to guide the response.

Following the confirmed outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Health with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners scaled up implementation of the JEE recommendations to mitigate the risk of possible cross boarder importation of EVD.

This among others included strengthening laboratory capacity to respond to this threat and any other outbreaks over and above the already strengthened capacities to provide confirmatory testing for at least 5 out of the WHO’s 10 core recommended tests, including HIV, TB, malaria, measles, meningitis, and cholera.

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