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U.N.D.P. hands over 2,000 COVID-19 test cartridges

The United Nations Development Programme [U.N.D.P.] has handed over 2,000 COVID-19 test cartridges to the Ministry of Health [MOH] to boost the country’s coronavirus response.

The cartridges or panels will be used in the Ministry’s existing GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing, and are produced by the American-based molecular diagnostics company, Cepheid.

Releasing a media statement on Thursday to announce the handing over of the test cartridges, the UNDP said the shipment is part of its support to the Samoa Government’s response to COVID-19 with funding come from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which was initially approved last year to help address the measles epidemic in Samoa towards the end of last year.

The Associate Minister of Health, Tofa Li’o Foleni, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Samoa Government. 

“On behalf of the Government of Samoa, we would like to thank U.N.D.P. for your commitment in assisting Samoa’s national efforts in our response to the threat of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” he said in a statement. 

“We appreciate the value in which the COVID-19 cartridges have been gifted and given the shortage of supplies worldwide, we are most grateful.”

Part of the funds were reprogrammed to COVID-19 assistance and used by the U.N.D.P to support the procurement of the 2,000 Cepheid cartridges and 53 Zoom software Licenses to support the Government’s Business Continuity Plan during the state of emergency [S.O.E.], and contribute to conducting the United Nations Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on Samoa.

Under the same Fund, the U.N.D.P had procured 15 laptops, 15 webcams and a multipurpose scanner which were handed over to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in December 2019 to help digitize medical records and to enable tele-medicine in district hospitals, following the measles outbreak. This equipment will now be transferred to the M.O.H. following the handover on Thursday.

The U.N.D.P Deputy Resident Representative, Verena Linneweber, said the organisation remains strongly committed to continuing boosting Samoa’s COVID-19 response.

“We are pleased that we are able to help in further expanding the Government’s testing capacities. Being able to test is critical in enabling more Samoans to return from abroad safely while preventing transmission in their home country.”

Earlier in June, the U.N.D.P also handed over P.C.R testing equipment capable of carrying out more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests to the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa [S.R.O.S] to boost Samoa’s response to the pandemic.

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