National Aviation Services donates rapid test kits worth Shs528m

Friday May 08 2020
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Mr Nouamane Zahouani, General Manager of NAS Uganda (right) hands over rapid testing kits to Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary for ministry of health. Photo by Kelvin Atuhaire

Ministry of health on Thursday received a donation of 7000 Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) kits worth $140,000 (Shs528m) from the National Aviation Services (NAS), the biggest ground handling service provider at Entebbe International Airport.

The donation comes at a time when ministry is conducting a serosurvey to assess the level of infection in the communities. NAS officials said the IgG/IgM Antibody Rapid Diagnostic Test kits will complement the ongoing survey and other targeted tests to estimate the proportion of the population that have developed immunity against Covid19. The test gives results within 10-15 minutes either with serum or whole blood specimens.

This will ease the pressure of dealing with truck drivers who, after samples are collected from them, are allowed to proceed with their journeys before the results are out and when tested positive, the tedious journey of tracing them begins.

Mr Nouamane Zahouani, General Manager of NAS Uganda while handing over the equipment to Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary for ministry of health, said the country had struggled with finding RDT kits for local testing and that as a company they had to make special arrangement to deliver the equipment to help the ministry to conduct rapid testing in the communities.

“As a ground handling company, we procured the kits in Kuwait and utilized our experience and expertise to facilitate the process. Working with our partner DHL, we had the kits flown to Uganda within three weeks. At the airport, we also did the needful to have them cleared and delivered to the Task Force as soon as possible,” he said.

Mr Hassan El-Houry, Group CEO said they have seen the work Uganda’s health ministry is doing and needed to assist the ministry with the required rapid testing equipment to continue with the tremendous work.

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“As a global company, NAS has a strong social responsibility towards the communities we work in. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are driving efforts to help where we can in the fight against the disease,” he said.

Dr Atwine said the donation was a big relief to Uganda and that the kits will undergo normal verification process before being used.

“These have to first be validated since they are new test kits in the country. And will go through normal testing systems before being put to use. We are however grateful to the national aviation services for this generous support towards our efforts in fighting the disease,” she said.

fdraku@ug.nationmedia.com

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