The Council for Human and Social Development (Health) on Monday 6th April 2020 held its Fourth Special Emergency Meeting via video conference.
During this meeting, representatives from regional institutions provided updates to the Ministers and Officials in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) stated that they have experienced delays in receiving reagents for COVID-19 tests.
The CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) currently conducts tests for suspected COVID-19 cases for several CARICOM Member States.
The Agency, in its report to the Meeting, informed that the CMML, like all laboratories world-wide, was being impacted by global shortage of test kits for the COVID-19 tests as well as re-agents (chemicals used in testing) and protection equipment, which could have an impact on its operations if they are not received within the next 2 weeks. CARPHA assured the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Health Ministers that along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it was working to address the procurement of the necessary materials and equipment to avert any shortages as a result of the delay and cancellation of orders made repeatedly since January.
The Agency also assured Ministers that it is ensuring enough manpower to conduct tests for COVID-19. CARPHA said it was currently working on a shift system to deliver timely results and this had been aptly demonstrated by a turnaround time of less than 24 hours.
CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory currently tests cases of COVID-19 according to the protocols and definitions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
CARPHA continues to work closely with Member States to respond in the most efficient manner to meet their needs as the Region combats this global pandemic.