DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzanian Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu on Saturday May 23 announced findings of a report presented to her by the 10-man probe committee that was formed following concerns raised by President John Pombe Magufuli over how the National Health Laboratory was handling Covid-19 tests, verification and results.
Mwalimu said the investigation report shows there were weaknesses in the professional management, set up and operations of the national laboratory facilities, thus affecting the quality of Covid-19 tests and results.
“One of the machines testing samples of Covid-19 was faulty but the management did not take action in time,” said Mwalimu.
She revealed that all the testing facilities had now been moved to a new National Public Health Laboratory located at Madibo in Dar es Salaam.
“The new laboratory can carry out testing on up to 1,800 Covid-19 samples in 24 hours compared to the previous one which could test only 300 samples,” she said.
During her inspection of the new laboratory in Dar es Salaam, the minister spoke to a number of truck drivers and assured them that they would now get their Covid-19 results within 24 hours
Until today, the officially known number of people infected by the coronavirus in Tanzania stands at 509, with 21 deaths and 183 recoveries.
While Magufuli halted international passenger flights in April, he has now allowed them to resume — and says any visitor who doesn’t have a fever will be allowed in.
The president argues that if restrictive measures are adopted, Tanzanians may have nothing to eat. However, the country’s opposition leaders now accuse Magufuli’s government of hiding the outbreak’s true toll.
Government spokesman Hassan Abbas dismisses the opposition leaders views arguing that it would be impossible to cover up an outbreak.
“It is unfortunate that COVID-19 has come up with lots of misinformation, propaganda and false news,” he added.
He said Tanzania has taken measures to curb the disease, and infection rates are falling, despite not giving any data.
He revealed that the country’s health officials have been working hand in hand with international experts, including at the World Health Organization.