By Tatenda Chimbwanda
Harare, Zimbabwe – Korea International Cooperation (KIOCA) through the South Korean Embassy handed over COVID19 laboratory testing and extraction kits to the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ). The handover ceremony which took place on Tuesday 20 October 2020, at The State House in Harare, sought to strengthen GoZ capacity to test for COVID19.The donation consisted of 275 COVID19 testing kits (SD Biosensor STANDARD M nCoV Real-Time Detection kits) and 264 extraction kits (STANDARD M SPIN-X Viral RNA Extraction kits) expected to conduct approximately 26 000 tests. The laboratory supplies will go a long way in supporting Zimbabwe’s capacity to test for COVID19 which has not yet reached the national target of conducting 33000 tests a month.
“The COVID19 pandemic requires global cooperation and solidarity. No one is strong enough to fight this alone which is why the Republic of South Korea is pleased to provide Zimbabwe with COVID19 test kits valued at US$300,000 to help strengthen GoZ national response toward the pandemic through our partnership with WHO Zimbabwe,” said DO Bongkae Republic of Korea Ambassador to Zimbabwe, at the handover ceremony.
WHO Zimbabwe was the consignee of the laboratory equipment donated to the GoZ from KIOCA. WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) Operations Support and Logistics Unit, supply chain process ensured the laboratory equipment obtaining the duty free certificates, handled storage of the commodities including the cold chain supplies until the South Korea’s Ambassador handed over the supplies to the GoZ.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, President Emerson Mnangagwa acknowledged the support South Korea has been rendering to the GoZ’s health sector particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of government and the people of Zimbabwe and my own behalf, let me sincerely express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the donation which you have extended to Zimbabwe. I am aware that this is not your first time to make a donation on Zimbabwe both in relation to the fight against COVID-19,” added President Mnangagwa.
“The laboratory supplies will help the countries COVID19 response as testing for COVID19 remains important in timely detection for the purposes of prompt isolation and contact tracing of the infected to reduce and contain the rapid spread of the virus in Zimbabwe,” noted Dr Alex Gasasira, WHO Zimbabwe Country Representative.
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