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Ministry of Health explains test kits saga

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Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2020. 12:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Hours ao a report surfaced that the Government of Belize had rejected a donation of 25,000 test kits for Covid-19.

On Ask the Experts, Dr. Manzanero addressed that claim.

He said that the Ministry was trained with a particular standard of kits from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

On the 18th of March, in response to the regional procurement agency COMISCA, the Ministry asked for 40 test kits covering 4,000 individual tests, paid through funds from Rotary and others, but COMISCA said they were not able to follow through.

On March 24th, Belize submitted a request for assisted information to CABEI, which then responded with the specifications which came from South Korea.

A check with the Central Medical Laboratory revealed concerns about validation of the kits, compatibility and any need for training as they were not familiar with this particular type.

The CABEI kits, Dr. Manzanero said, had not yet been approved by the Korean Center for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and ultimately led to not accepting the kits. This is also true for other supplies being sought and Dr. Manzanero compared it to the compatibility of two spouses in marriage.

COMISCA is now awaiting a revised specification from the supplier.

Dr. Manzanero made clear that the Ministry will not reject donations out of hand but specified that in the case of test kits it is a specific type, the Allen-Gene variety.

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