WHO Nominates Uganda Virus Research Institute as Covid-19 Genomic Sequencing Centre for Central, East Africa

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, yesterday announced that the Uganda Virus Research Institute has been nominated as the centre for Covid-19 genomic sequencing for the East and Central Africa stretch.

Dr Aceng made the announcement while addressing and updating the public on COVID-19 testing in Uganda.

“Allow me to inform you that the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) has been nominated by the World Health Organisation as the centre for COVID-19 genomic sequencing for the whole of East and Central Africa,” she said.

It has been selected as one of the reference labs for COVID-19 in Africa, to provide genetic information needed for the swift and effective control of COVID-19 and other emerging pathogens.

Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO representative to Uganda, said that Uganda is doing great by retaining of results between 48-72 hours for almost all the cases.

“The very fact that UVRI has been selected as one of the reference labs in Africa is something to be cherished and be understood that Uganda has a resource which is not only good for Uganda but is good for Africa. We should be appreciative for that,” he stated.

Tegegn added that the World Health Organisation will continue to provide the necessary support and collaboration to ensure more excellence.

In the same vein, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the following laboratories have been accredited to carry out covid-19 testing across the country.

  • Uganda Virus Research institute (UVRI)
  • Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL)
  • Makerere University College of Health Sciences Laboratory (MAK)
  • Adjumani Mobile Laboratory
  • Tororo Mobile Laboratory
  • Mutukula Point of entry Laboratory
  • Infectious Disease Institute Laboratory (IDI)
  • Mild May Laboratory
  • Uganda Cancer Institute – Fred Hutchson Lab

Private laboratories listed include; Lancet Laboratories, MBN Laboratories and Medipal Hospital Laboratory.

Sample collection points for alerts, contacts and symptomatic cases in Kampala /Wakiso include Kiswa, Kitebi, Kisenyi, Kawala, Kasangati, Kira while the health centres are; Kibuli Hospital, International Hospital Kampala, Nsambya Hospital, Makerere University Hospital and all hubs in the various districts.

Dr Aceng confirmed that all the COVID-19 accredited testing laboratories in Uganda do upload the results into the centralized electronic results dispatch system (eRDS), where they can be downloaded and only the selected officers from the district health offices, general hospitals, referral hospitals and national hospitals have been given access rights and online accounts to access results for any patient within their respective domains.

Responding to complaints raised to the Ministry on the challenges regarding test results such as differences and falsity in results, Dr. Aceng said the laboratory department has developed unique identifiers for the result slips to differentiate them from the fake ones.

She stressed that the result must be traceable in the Ministry of Health data base and the following features must be looked out for to authenticate results;

  • The signature of the manager of the testing lab
  • Name of the testing lab
  • Stamp of the testing lab
  • QR code.

In order to prevent the spread of covid-19, the Minister urged those who will test or have tested for covid-19; symptomatic or non symptomatic, to continue following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).


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