This came after Members of Parliament pushed for widespread testing to find out who has the disease.
Dr Faustine Ndugulile, Deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, told the National Assembly on Thursday that targeted testing which is done through contact tracing has proved to be effective for Tanzania.
“We will stick to targeted testing since it is difficult to test all the 55 million people. Testing COVID-19 is also expensive and requires skilled health practitioners to take samples from suspected patients”, said Dr Ndugulile noting each country fights the disease in accordance with its strategies.
He said with targeted testing the government invests much on clinical diagnosis before conducting laboratory tests for suspected cases. He said the yields are big when using targeted testing whereas between 70 and 80 out of 100 tested samples are diagnosed positive.
The Deputy minister added that the country’s CPVID-19 testing capacity is good whereas the national community laboratory which operates 24hrs can test 500 samples per day.
Dr Ndugulile said the ministry has also identified other nine laboratories which will later be used for testing.
“You cannot just conduct coronavirus testing at dispensaries or health centers, test labs must have required testing kits as well as skilled workers. Countries that have opted for mass testing have just ended up with relatively low yields”, he said. He said the government has so far procured personal protective equipment (PPE) worth 12.3bn/- which will be distributed to various hospitals.
He urged health care workers to consider the basic guidelines for infection, prevention and control (IPC) when attending to COVID-19 patients.
All healthcare workers require at least a basic understanding of IPC principles and practice. Infection prevention and control is a discipline that aims to prevent health care workers from diseases, said Dr Ndugulile.
“The demand for PPE is huge worldwide as almost all the countries have been hit by the pandemic. We will make sure doctors and nurses stay safe as they continue saving the lives of Tanzanians”, he noted.