Nakuru County is set to construct a modern testing centre for Covid-19 patients. This follows approval of the project by the devolved unit’s administration.
The new laboratory to be constructed at the Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital will be funded by the county government in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Amref Health Africa and COVID-19 Response Project-Kenya.
According to the County Medical Laboratory Technologist Dr. Rose Gachie, the new facility will be designed to bolster testing capacity and reduce tests turnaround time. It will also be used for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, malaria and other tests.
The laboratory will be equipped with a capacity to test between 60 to 100 samples in 24 hours. It will serve neighbouring counties of Kericho, Laikipia, Baringo and Narok. The County will will no longer take samples from suspected Covid-19 patients to Kisumu for examination upon completion of the building.
Dr. Gachie stated the facility will comply with established standards and enabling regulatory laws for the practice of medical lab personnel working in a high containment environment and will reduce processing of the results’ timeline from the current 5 days.
“The laboratory will be equipped with ultra-modern apparatus. This is a milestone because Nakuru will be designated a Covid-19 testing site in Kenya. We will be seeking approval from The Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) before services kick off. Officials from the board will also train county health workers on Covid-19 testing,” said Dr. Gachie.
“Currently, it takes up to five days for results to be out. The up scaling of tests across the country is overwhelming the national testing labs. The laboratory will also help reduce the time truckers wait to get results from our Covid-19 testing facility at Mai Mahiu Health Center,” she added.
Within the larger Rift Valley Region, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, which serves 22 counties, is the only centre activated to test for Covid-19. Other testing centres are National Influenza Laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Nairobi), Kemri Wellcome Trust Kilifi County, Kemri CDC Kisumu County and the Kenyatta National Hospital. The county has been sending medical samples of suspected Covid-19 cases to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) laboratories in Kisumu for analysis.