Zimbabwe, which currently has 18 Covid-19 confirmed cases, has set an ambitious target to test at least 33 000 people per month.
So far, the country has only tested 665 people since recording its first confirmed cases a month ago.
The southern African Country’s Health secretary, Dr Agnes Mahomva admitted to ZTN that the 33 000 target was a huge task that had to be carried out.
“That’s our target, that’s a mammoth task and we are so aware of it. But we cannot stop, we have to move and satisfy that. This translates to 1 000 per day.
“We are in the process of decentralizing the process of testing so that it is not only done in Harare. Bulawayo is already testing and by end of week, we want to ensure that all provinces start testing once we avail them with the requisite consumables,” she said.
Dr Mahomva said the decentralization process will see them using GeneXpert machines that are already available in all provinces to test for Covid-19.
“We already have these machines that were being used for tuberculosis so we are in the process of purchasing the consumables so that we can distribute across provinces.”
She added that Zimbabwe has also widened its case definition for Covid-19 testing criteria, noting that they have communicated with provincial medical directors and even at district level so that all those that meet the guidelines are tested.
“I know the how part is the question everyone has now. This is what we have done, we have communicated at provincial and at district levels so that whoever meets this criterion is tested.
“The GeneXpert machines can test about 200 a day and given that these are across provinces; it is possible to test the 1 000 per day.”
Meanwhile authorities have sealed off a gated community in Bulawayo where the country’s 11th confirmed case who died recently resided.
So far, the 11th case, is believed to have infected two of his contacts hence the frantic contact tracing tests.
“We have already sealed off the gated community where case number 11 resided as we are testing all its occupants. The testing started on Tuesday and we should have those results soon,” Dr Mahomva said.