Health Ministry To Provide 150,000 Free Self-Testing Kits

Health Ministry To Provide 150,000 Free Self-Testing Kits

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is in the process of acquiring 150,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) self-testing kits, which will be made available to the public free of cost.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, made the announcement at the COVID conversations press briefing held on December 15.

“That process is taking place, as we speak, in terms of determining the [type of] kits and ensuring that the choice is supported by the appropriate documentation. The intention is that once these kits are imported, to engage in a discussion with critical stakeholders… to determine the best approach to the distribution and use of these kits,” he said.

Dr Tufton noted that there are tests that have become available on the market, which are approved by the critical regulatory agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

“We have taken a critical look at these new tests on the market, and we are now in a position to say, with an appropriate level of advice and caution, that we would like to encourage the use of self-administered home test kits in a particular context, along with particular protocols,” he said.

Dr. Tufton said that the kits come with an advisory, noting that their accuracy is not as guaranteed as with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are a lot more sensitive and mechanised in terms of the process of validation.

The Health Minister said that protocols for administering the self-test kits will be placed on the Ministry’s website.

“It is important to note that in engaging in self-testing, persons, if they suspect that they have COVID, should see a doctor for further assessment and not just solely depend on the results of these kits. They should get the appropriate level of advice and take the necessary precaution,” he urged.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton informed that discussions are now taking place between the Ministry and three entities that have submitted applications for the importation of self-administered kits.

He informed that the discussions are ongoing to determine the documentation that is necessary, noting that “once that is satisfied, we will fast-track the permit process to authorise those kits to come into the country.”






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