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U.S government donates lab equipment worth N$6.1 million to health ministry

U.S government donates lab equipment worth N$6.1 million to health ministry

The U.S. Government has donated high-tech laboratory equipment, valued at US$422,000 (approx. N$6.2million), to the Ministry of Health and Social Services in support of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The equipment, handed over on 13 April in Windhoek, consists of 30 centrifuges, 15 vortex mixers, 12 biosafety cabinets, 10 refrigerators and 10 freezers and will be distributed throughout Namibia.

Centrifuges and biosafety cabinets enable laboratory staff to safely process COVID-19 specimens. Centrifuges spin at high-speed to isolate the infectious material needed for testing. Biosafety cabinets provide specialized shielding and air flow to keep infectious virus away from the face of the laboratorian working with the COVID-19 specimens.

Refrigerators and freezers not only allow for holding specimens at the correct temperatures before and after testing, but also provide proper storage to guarantee quality testing. Vortex mixers mix the sample to ensure that the virus is as evenly distributed as possible during the RNA extraction process.

The donation is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and is part of the N$100 million of COVID-19 assistance for Namibia from the U.S. Government, which the U.S. Embassy announced in April 2020.

The laboratory equipment was procured by USAID’s supply-chain partner Chemonics and handed over to the NIP, the largest diagnostic pathology service provider in the country, to enhance the capacity to screen and test for COVID-19 nationwide.

“This donation builds on the United States’ promise to assist Namibia as we all battle this virus. We are in this together. America remains committed to contributing to global health security and humanitarian assistance worldwide and here in Namibia,” said U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson.

U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, tests a vortex mixer with the CEO of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Kapena Tjombonde (far left), and Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Esther Muinjangue (wearing blue protective gowns).

About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys