Kenya scales up COVID-19 diagnostic capacity

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Health workers personal protective equipment (PPE) record the details of residents, as they stand at social distance to each other, during a Covid-19 testing drive at Olympic Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Halfway through Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyattas second term his pledge of transforming the economy through manufacturing, farming, health care and low-cost housing have been slow to show results, and the coronavirus pandemic could now reduce that to little more than an election promise. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Health workers personal protective equipment (PPE) record the details of residents, as they stand at social distance to each other, during a Covid-19 testing drive at Olympic Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Halfway through Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyattas second term his pledge of transforming the economy through manufacturing, farming, health care and low-cost housing have been slow to show results, and the coronavirus pandemic could now reduce that to little more than an election promise. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kenya’s health authorities on Thursday announced scaling up the country’s diagnostic capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have scaled up our diagnostic capacity which was defined by two testing laboratories prior to COVID-19, to 39 laboratories spread across 12 counties,” Kenya’s Health Ministry said on Twitter.

“We have hired and trained a new cohort of healthcare workers to complement our existing capacity,” it added.

The ministry’s announcement came a couple of days after the Kenyan president honored the health workers who lost their lives while fighting the pandemic.

“I cannot conclude this address without honouring our COVID-19 heroes. In particular, I want to give [a] special mention to our departed health workers [who died of COVID-19] […] their memory will forever be engraved in our hearts,” Uhuru Kenyatta told a ceremony in Kisii, a major urban center in southwestern Kenya.

The COVID-19 crisis has driven innovation in Kenya. With medical companies struggling to meet the huge demand, university students came up with cheap ventilators to meet the gap. Those working in the informal sector are also making hospital beds, and have received state tenders amid a dearth of berths.

So far, Kenyan authorities have confirmed some 858 COVID-19-related deaths and 46,144 infections, according to data compiled by the US-based John Hopkins University.

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