How Jack Ma’s donation will boost Rwanda’s COVID-19 fight

Some of the COVID 19 testing kits received in Rwanda last week from Jack Ma Foundation. (Photos by Collins Mwai)

The COVID 19 testing kits received in Rwanda last week from Jack Ma Foundation has boosted the country’s ability to fight the global Coronavirus pandemic, health officials have said.

Ma who is the founder of Alibaba Group, a philanthropist and investor, recently announced that each African country was to receive at least 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks, and 1000 medical use protective suits and face shields among others.

 

Rwanda’s batch arrived in the country last week.

 

Ministry of Health officials have told The New Times that the kits will be a huge boost as the country makes efforts to contain the virus which involves testing and treating confirmed cases.

 

Minister of Health Dr. Daniel Ngamije said that the kits are compatible with medical equipment available in Rwanda consequently increasing capacity to contain the ailment.

“Rwanda is very grateful for the timely and generous gift of COVID-19 test kits from the Jack Ma Foundation. The kits work perfectly with the equipment in our laboratories. It is reassuring that we have increased capacity to test those at risk, take appropriate measures to manage the cases, and prevent further infections,” he said.

Dr. Jean Baptiste Mazarati the Head of the Department of Biomedical Services at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre told The New Times that the equipment’s compatibility also ensures that Rwandan health professionals have skills to use them.

The batch received includes testing kits and an array of testing reagents necessary for the process.

The combination, he noted also came in at an ideal time given the global demand in the kits.

“All around the world, there is a huge demand for the kits and few countries are producing and exporting them. The addition to our stock is timely has put our capacity at a good level to respond to the situation,” he said.

The kits use PCR Diagnostic method which Dr. Mazarati said apply principles of heating, cooling and amplifying the test subject to amplifying the viral load making it detectable even when it’s in very low amounts.

This means that it can detect the even very low levels of infections among suspected cases as it amplifies to make it detectable.

Currently, Rwanda has the capacity to test over 200 cases daily with staff  taking shifts to ensure suspected cases are handled.

Ordinarily, when a patient’s tests positive for Coronavirus after a test process that takes about 4 hours, health practitioners conduct further investigation to establish if it’s the novel coronavirus.

The standard process globally involves either a dental or nasal swab from the patient.

Dr. Mazarati said that the health professionals are working diligently in the testing and management of the cases to curb the virus. He noted that they have received all possible support from the government boosting their morale on desired outcomes.

So far, Rwanda has 19 confirmed cases as of Sunday,22 March with others being quarantined following their arrival into the country in recent days or having come into contact with confirmed cases

cmwai@newtimesrwanda.com

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