The Public Health and Reference Laboratory (PHRL) located within the premises of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) in the Northern Region has begun testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The testing for the COVID-19 started today, Thursday, April 30, 2020, with a total of about 350 samples collected through contact tracing from some districts in the Northern region.
The samples for testing at the PHRL in Tamale are from the Nanumba North (Bimbilla) and the Yendi municipalities, Nanumba South (Wulensi) and the Kpandai Districts were contact-tracing is currently ongoing. A few of the samples are from other areas including the Savelugu municipality bringing the total number of samples for COVID-19 testing at the PHRL in Tamale to about 350.
This is the maiden testing for COVID-19 in the Northern sector of the country after the PHRL in Tamale was provided with the necessary equipment and personnel to start testing for the virus.
The Head of the PHRL in Tamale, Dr Abass Abdul Karim told Graphic Online that he was delighted about the initiative, adding that: “Based on the capacity of our equipment and the personnel we have we are hoping to complete our maiden testing for the 350 COVID-19 samples collected through contact tracing and brought to the lab hopefully by today”.
He said the PHRL would serve the five regions of the north, namely Northern, Upper East, Upper West and the two newly created regions out of the then Northern region; Savannah and North East.
Dr Abass stated that a capacity building for the laboratory staff for the COVID-19 testing centre in Tamale ended on Wednesday and they are due to begin work today, Thursday, April 30, 2020, after the two-day training that begun on Tuesday.
He said about 40 personnel drawn from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Veterinary Service Department, University for Development Studies (UDS), TTH and the Navorongo Research Centre in the Upper East region were trained and would constitute the staff for the COVID-19 testing centre in Tamale.
Dr Abass also appealed for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the staff of the laboratory and other logistics as well as the expansion of the infrastructure at the PHRL.
The COVID-19 testing centre in Tamale has the capacity to test over 200 samples a day.
The setting of the COVID-19 testing centre in Tamale now means that samples collected for COVID-19 test in any part of Northern Ghana would no longer be sent to the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) in the Ashanti region and the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute in Accra for testing.
According to the Northern Regional Health Directorate, the establishment of the COVID-19 testing centre in Tamale would reduce its financial burden as it costs not less than GHC1,000 to transport samples.