The East African Community (EAC) has handed over two mobile laboratories to the Government of Uganda in an effort to increase diagnostic capacities for COVID-19. The laboratories are part of a German – East African development cooperation project to establish a network of mobile labs for diagnoses of epidemic diseases across the six EAC Member States.
The German Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Dr. Albrecht Conze, stated: “Germany remains firmly committed to stand alongside the people of Uganda in these challenging times. I am very happy that through our joint cooperation and the arrival of the labs, Uganda’s capacities to respond to this terrible virus have been enhanced. Germany has funded the labs in the framework of a regional project for East Africa. It shows that international cooperation at times of emergency is more important than ever.”
The two laboratories, which were ceremoniously commissioned at the Ugandan Ministry of Health in Kampala, have been deployed to Adjumani and Malaba. They are fully operational and strengthen Uganda’s testing capacities at the country’s borders. The regional development cooperation project – worth 25 million EUR (approximately 28,3 million USD) funded by the German Government – was launched in 2017, at the time in an effort to curb the spread of epidemic diseases such as Ebola.
In cooperation with the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) in Hamburg, training of laboratory staff to operate the labs as well as training in SARS-CoV-2 testing was carried out. The two mobile labs for Uganda have now been placed under the purview of the Ugandan Central Public Health Laboratories / Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (CPHL/UNHLS). In view of the spread of COVID, the German Government has recently provided additional funds (500.000 EUR, approximately 566.000 USD) for the procurement of PCR machines that are required at the laboratories to detect the virus. Additionally, Germany has provided test kits to the Ugandan public health laboratories.