CARPHA gets test kits from Japan

In this September 11, 2020 file photo a member of the public uses a drive-in facility to test for covid19 at a private hospital. Photo by Roger Jacob

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) has received 23 viral RNA test kits worth US$43,411 from the Japan-Caricom Friendship and Cooperation Fund.

In a release, CARPHA said the kits are expected to do approximately 5,750 tests.

It said the Japanese government also provided US$267,724 from the Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) to buy kits to do approximately 72,090 tests in Guyana, Jamaica and Suriname.

The CARPHA executive management team received the donations from Japanese ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Tatsuo Hirayama on October 5.

CARPHA executive director Dr Joy St John said the agency was pleased to receive the items, which would add to its ability to support the governments and people of the region in their continued fight against covid19.

Caricom Secretariat assistant secretary-general, human and social development, Dr Douglas Slater thanked the government and people of Japan for their support.

“We are focusing today on the handover of the RNA kits to address the challenges we have had with covid19. Due to the impact of this disease on all aspects of our lives, we sincerely appreciate how important this is for us to be best prepared through our lead public health institution CARPHA, to help our member states manage the process going forward.”

Hirayama commended CARPHA for its essential role in fighting the pandemic in the region.

“Japan and Caricom have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship based on our shared principles and values that include, among others, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Building on our long-standing cooperative relations, it is my utmost pleasure to witness the procurement of approximately 77,840 PCR test kits utilising more than US$300,000. I hope the test kits will facilitate Caricom member countries in conducting necessary tests expeditiously, thus contributing to detecting infections early.”

Health Ministry principal pharmacist Aneesa Doodnath-Siboo said the value of the close and beneficial relationship with CARPHA had been made evident by the collaborative approach to the fight against covid19.

“RNA extraction is the first step of the PCR testing process. Thus I cannot stress enough the importance of these contributions towards the covid19 management programme for the Caribbean community. This significant donation will ensure the receipt of quality and equitable test results from covid19 testing facilities and utilise the latest technology for covid19 diagnosis.”