JPM: Check testing devices at Govt lab

04May 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
JPM: Check testing devices at Govt lab

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday directed the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in collaboration with security organs to investigate devices used to test Covid-19 at the National Health Laboratory, saying some of them could be defective.

He issued the directive in a televised address from his home village at Chato, Geita Region, when swearing in the newly appointed Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister, Dr Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba.

“Go and investigate the National Health Laboratory and its experts to find out if the gear have technical defects or the experts are being used by some people who don’t have positive wishes for this country...We should do this immediately because everything we are using to test people is imported,… we take it from outside,” he said.

The president reminded his audience that in a recent meeting with heads of security organs, he directed them to go and check the test kits and other gear at the laboratory.

“We have taken some initial measures to see the quality of our national laboratory. Through our security organs we sent samples of goat, sheep, quail, jackfruit and pawpaw. And we labeled them with human names without notifying the lab experts, the results came showing that goat, pawpaw and quail tested positive, while sheep tested negative. If this is true, then the World Health Organization (WHO) has a big role to do,” he said.

“We have to be aware that every test kit is form outside the country. If pawpaw, goats have tested positive for the coronavirus disease, then scientists have to do something on this. There are some of people who have tested positive, but haven’t developed any symptoms.”

“I direct you (Nchemba) to go and cooperate with the Ministry of Health, security organs to conduct investigations on these tools and if there is something wrong, or may be the tools have technical errors, more legal measures should be taken,” he said.

“This disease has raised fears among the public. Some of them may die due to high anxiety from information they receive, and my plea to all Tanzanians is for their reassurance,” the president remarked.

President Magufuli also appealed to global financial institutions to think of providing grants to African nations and not loans at this time when nations are struggling to contain the spread of the virus.

“This is not the first outbreak disease to hit our country. We had measles, tuberculosis (TB), HIV and Aids but we battled them and life went on. Why are we raising fears in this pandemic then? Let us continue working hard,” he reiterated in customary refrain.

“Politicians should not take advantage of this disease to disseminate false information to the public. It is better they join efforts and educate the public on how to prevent the disease," he specified.

He further urged doctors, nurses and all health workers to continue serving patients of coronavirus without stigmatizing them as the government is there to ensure that all the required equipment is available.

The president said he would appreciate seeing everyone who dies, regardless of the cause, to be buried at a place consented to by family and relatives.

“Government leaders should not prohibit relatives from burying their beloved ones at home. What is needed is to ensure that the bodies are well covered with protected tools,” he said.

He pointedly demanded why the Mtwara Regional Commissioner forced the burial of Mtwara District Commissioner Evod Mmanda in Mtwara instead of his home region.

President Magufuli further said that he had been in talks with the Madagascan government for the latter to avail its Covid-19 medicine to Tanzania.

“I have been in talks with Madagascar. They say they have discovered the medicine for Covid-19. We will send a plane to bring the medicine to Tanzania so that Tanzanians can benefit from it.”

He said the government was working around the clock in an effort to defeat the Covid-19 scourge.

Dr Magufuli also vowed that the government will continue paying its employees their monthly salaries until the pandemic is tackled.

He reiterated that that the government will not lockdown any city, urging the public to continue with their economic activities but should take precautions.

Tanzania has so far reported 480 cases of coronavirus , 167 recoveries and 16 deaths.