What you need to know:
- The three labs, which have been accredited, include the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), National Health Laboratory Services, and the Department of Defence of the US government (in the country).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given Uganda test kits for monkeypox following the accreditation of laboratories that can perform the tests.
The kits have capacity to conduct 2,400 tests, according to WHO.
While receiving the test kits yesterday in Kampala, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said the donation from WHO will strengthen the monkeypox testing in the country.
“We have been carrying out tests for monkeypox. In the beginning, we were taking tests to South Africa as we run the race to make sure that the cartridges are available in Uganda,” she said.
She added: “Subsequently, the department of defence of the US government brought in the cartridges and we started testing in-country as we wait for WHO to accredit the laboratories that would test so that our results are internationally recognised.”
The three labs, which have been accredited, include the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), National Health Laboratory Services, and the Department of Defence of the US government (in the country).
To date, the country has carried out more than 70 tests for the monkeypox virus and all have turned out negative. This, according to the Health ministry means there is still no monkeypox case detected in Uganda.
Dr Aceng told the media last month that monkeypox is being treated as a serious problem because the international news agencies are talking about it.
But yesterday, while with WHO officials she said the country is worried about monkeypox.
“We do not have any case of monkeypox in the country. However, that is not to say we are not worried. We border the DR Congo, which has been having cases of monkeypox for the last 10 years. And we trade with DRC and we have relatives in DRC,” she said.
The WHO Representative to Uganda, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, said the kits they donated have the capacity of doing 2,400 monkeypox tests.
“Uganda has labs that are capable of doing the tests and under the guidance of UVRI, this will be put to good use. It is important to have the surveillance to prevent monkeypox,” he said.
The WHO last week declared the outbreak of monkeypox, a disease which is ravaging non-endemic countries, a public health emergency of international concern.