The government has successfully installed COVID-19 testing capability at the laboratory in Kilu’ufi Hospital in Malaita.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirms that work is currently underway to increase the working space in the laboratory at Kilu’ufi hospital before it becomes fully operational.

He says with this increases our COVID-19 testing sites to 4 – the NRH molecular laboratory, the Public Health laboratory in Honiara, Gizo hospital laboratory and now Kilu’ufi hospital laboratory.

“Expanding COVID-19 testing capability into all our provincial laboratories is a key objective of my government. The GeneXpert machines that are used for TB testing in most provinces have the capability to also do COVID-19 testing.

“Our health team is progressively re-configuring and re-calibrating these machines to be able to undertake COVID-19 testing as well,” Sogavare said.

Sogavare says that enabling all provincial laboratories to do COVID-19 testing is the best way to respond to any potential community transmission of COVID-19 into the provinces.

To date, around 15,000 COVID-19 tests have so far been performed by the NRH molecular laboratory and the Gizo hospital laboratory since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020.