Laboratories conducting unsanctioned Covid-19 testing warned

The Ministry of Health and Child Care says there are laboratories in the country that are conducting Covid-19 testing without receiving approval or certification from relevant authorities.

Early this month, police arrested two men for selling fake negative Covid-19 test results to travellers at the country’s northern Chirundu border post, which is the gateway to neighbouring Zambia.

The suspects arrested on December 3, 2020 had in their possession more than 330 blank stamped certificates.

Any laboratory that wishes to carry out Covid-19 testing should apply to the Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientist Council of Zimbabwe, said the health ministry and issued a warning that perpetrators would be arrested for contravening Part XVII, Section 99(1) of the Health Professions Act [Chapter 27:19].

“The perpetrators would be dealt with in terms of section 99(2) of the same Health Professions Act. All results from any unauthorised laboratory shall be regarded as invalid and of no use for the purposes for which they were intended to serve,” said the Ministry of Health and Child Care in a statement.

“It has come to the attention of the Ministry Of Health and Child Care that there are laboratories carrying out Covid-19 testing without the prior requirement of assessment and certification.”

The health ministry advised members of the public that the only laboratories approved to carry out Covid-19 testing and publish results are those assessed and certified by the same ministry in collaboration with the Medical Laboratory and Clinical Scientists Council of Zimbabwe and the World Health Organisation.

Zimbabwean regulations require travellers to produce a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Covid-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognised health facility within 48 hours before leaving the country by road or air.

The PCR test costs about US$60 in Zimbabwe.

According to the health ministry, the list of assessed and certified medical laboratories for Covid-19 under private laboratories include

1. Lancet laboratories

2. PSMI Harare Branch

3. Cimas Harare laboratory

4. Diagnopath laboratory Harare

5. Klosad  Laboratory Harare

6. Mater Dei Hospital Laboratory (DLS)

7. Multi Tech

8. Flow Cytometry

9. Haematology Centre

10. Bioexpress Laboartory

11. Genau Laboratory

12. Patholgy Laboratory

13. Unki Mine Laboratory

The government laboratories assessed and certified medical laboratories for Covid-19 are:

1. National Microbiology Reference Laboratories

2. National TB Reference Laboratory

3. Plumtree District Hospital

4. Gwanda Provincial Hospital

5. Beitbridge District Hospital

6. St Lukes Mission Hospital

7. Victoria Falls Hospital

8. Gutu Mission Hospital

9. Masvingo Provincial Hospital

10. Gweru Provincial Hospital

11. Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital

12. Kadoma General Hospital

13. Marondera Provincial Hospital

14. St Alberts Mission Hospital

15. Bindura Provincial Hospital

16. Rusape General Hospital

17. Mutare Provincial Hospital

18. Chipinge District Hospital

19. Sally Mugabe Central Hospital

20. Parirenyatwa Central Hospital

21. National Virology Reference Laboratory

22. Chitungwiza Central Hospital

23. Chikurubi Maximum Prison

24. Thorngrove Hospital Laboratory

25. Beatrice Road Infectiuos Diseases Hospital

26. Josiah Tongogara Magama

As for Research and Non-Governmental Organisations that conducted certified testing, these were:

1. Population Service International (PSI)

2. Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI)

3. African Institute Of Biomedical Sciences and Technology (AIBST)

The authorised collection points authorised are Lancet and Genau.

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