Govt licenses more private labs for Covid-19 testing
Harare, (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe government has doubled the number of private laboratories licensed to conduct Covid-19 testing to match increased demand for the service.
As of December 28, the number of private laboratories given the green light to conduct coronavirus testing stood at 29, more than double the figure at the beginning of December.
In total, the number of laboratories, including those at government institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations now stands at 58, the latest update from the Ministry of Health and Child Care shows.
Demand for testing surged at the beginning of the month when the government opened the borders to ordinary human and vehicular traffic as Covid-19 certificates are mandatory when leaving the country.
The development also led to proliferation of unregistered laboratories and other con-artists offering travelers Covid-19 negative certificates at cheaper prices than those offered by registered ones, which can charge up to US$60.
“Any result from an unauthorised laboratory shall be regarded as fake/illegal and shall be dealt with in line with the provisions of the Health Professions Act Chapter (27.19) part xviii section 99 subsection 1 and 2,” the Ministry said.
The latest data shows that the number of government and NGO licensed testing centres has, as at 26 and 3 respectively, remained unchanged for months.
New private labs allowed to conduct the tests include Idtech Dia Lab, Midlands Private Hospital Gweru, Cimas Medical Laboratories, Medical Centre and Southern Pathology Lab, Lancet House and 24 hour DianoLab which are all in Bulawayo.
Harare has the largest number of new entrants which include Upper East Medical Centre, Biotech Institute,Humacare Medical Laboratory, Interpath Medical Laboratory, Mbuya Dorcas Medical Laboratory, Urea Breath Centre, Baines Imaging Group and Baines Avenues Harare.
The number of Covid-19 testing centres has gradually increased from one – the National Microbiological Reference Laboratory – when the first Covid-19 case was recorded in March.
As of December 28, the country had recorded 13 148 cases, 10 705 recoveries and 354 deaths.