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Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19 (20 November 2020)

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South Sudan is ramping up its laboratory capacity to tackle COVID-19

The National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) of South Sudan has performed a total of 44 077 tests of which 2 943 (6.7%) samples tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began on 5 April 2020.
To increase diagnostic capacity, the NPHL recently obtained sufficient material and reagents used for PCR testing to allow 500 samples per day for the next two months. PCR testing is the gold standard for testing for COVID-19.

“Rapid and accurate detection of COVID-19 is vital to identify and control infection and transmission”, said Dr Richard Laku, COVID-19 Incident Manager, Ministry of Health.

In addition, EU funding supported WHO to provide ongoing mentoring and support of laboratory staff for accurate and timely disease diagnosis, and the establishment of a Laboratory Quality Management System for the molecular diagnostic laboratory to improve quality services based on international standards of practice. “Thanks to a generous contribution from the EU, the introduction of diagnostic techniques and increased hours of testing enhanced the country’s response capacity and effectiveness”, said Dr Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative to South Sudan.