The plan is part of a wider collaborative program with the UN, known as PACT.
Dorset – The African Union’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced plans to distribute 1 million COVID-19 test kits in the coming weeks to support countries across the continent in the battle to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
CDC chief medical officer Dr John Nkengasong told reporters that the body plans to provide up to 15 million test kits for African countries over the next three to six months.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but every effort will help, he explained during the CDC’s weekly video press conference.
The distribution plan aims to tackle what Nkengasong called “a big gap on the continent” in testing.
The medical officer believes daily statistics coming from African governments do not reflect the reality on the ground due to limited testing capacity and difficulties in adhering to social distancing measures due to poor socio-economic conditions.
Citing Nigeria as an example, Nkengasong said health authorities have only conducted 6,000 COVID-19 tests, on a population of nearly 200 million.
“Something has to be done,” he warned.
The COVID-19 test kit initiative in Africa is part of the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) between the CDC and the UN.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early, widespread testing and tracking as key aspects of international preventative measures.
On April 4, Morocco’s Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb announced plans to expand Morocco’s testing capacity in order to catch suspected cases as early as possible and trace contacts.
“We must remain vigilant because the virus can spread very quickly,” he said.
The health minister explained that Morocco is now in the second phase of the pandemic and that now is the time to commit to widespread testing.
“Laboratory tests could have been carried out on a larger scale, but it may have reduced the country’s capacity for testing,” the minister explained.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Morocco, health authorities have carried out over 10,000 tests on suspected novel coronavirus patients.
Health authorities report 9,995 negative tests; however 2,528 patients have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, putting Morocco ahead of Algeria for the first time since the start of the outbreak.
Over 40% of the 587 tests carried out between 6 p.m. on April 16 and 10 a.m. on April 17 came back positive.
Morocco now has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the continent, after Egypt and South Africa.