A joint team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) visited the UHAS COVID-19 Testing Centre on July 14 to inspect and ascertain the functionality of state-of-the-art equipment that IAEA, through GAEC, donated to the UHAS COVID-19 Testing Centre to help boost testing capacity and protect the scientists in the laboratory. The visit also enabled the team to see firsthand how the Centre operates.
The equipment and reagents include a real-time PCR machine, cryo vials and boxes, cryo tube barcode scanners, RNA extraction kits, centrifuge, a bio-safety level-2 cabinet and a biosafety level-3 cabinet.
Dr. Issahaku Shiraz, COVID-19 Coordinator at IAEA said the Agency, as a branch of the United Nations, is ensuring that all member states benefit from its activities: “Ghana as a member state has already benefitted twice since the inception of the intervention after the corona virus outbreak.”
After a tour of the laboratory handling the COVID-19 samples at the Centre, Dr. Shiraz promised to liaise with the University on future endeavours, saying, “What I have seen here has given me hope. The lab is doing tremendous work in serving the people here.”
Dr. Adolf Kofi Awuah, Centre Manger, Cellular and Clinical Research Centre, GAEC, said it is necessary to equip the testing centres, as testing is one of the central components in fighting the virus through early detection and isolation in curbing the spread.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Gyapong (middle) and senior scientists conferred with the guests following their tour (right) of the Centre. Photos – Julius Agbeya, Directorate of Public Affairs.
“The support from IAEA has come in handy. It will be a game changer in facilitating our work and will help us provide the necessary service in the shortest time possible,” Vice Chancellor Professor John Gyapong said, when the team paid him a courtesy call after the inspection. He said the centre is operating at full capacity to ensure that there are no backlogs from the Volta and Oti regions.
The VC also said the University, in honouring its promise to the people of the two regions, is glad to be a part of the success story about fighting the corona virus pandemic. He therefore appealed to other philanthropic organisations to help the lab procure a minus-80 degree freezer to store samples for future use.