WHO engages Ghana to share sample pooling method with other African countries

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The Wolrd Health Organization has reached out to the Government of Ghana to assist other African countries with their sample pooling method for testing COVID-19 to enhance the continent’s testing capacity.

This was disclosed by President Akufo-Addo on Sunday, May 10, 2020, while addressing the country on his Government’s measures in the fight against the pandemic.

Since the country recorded its first two cases of the Coronavirus disease, about 160,501 samples have been tested which makes it number one in Africa in terms of testing per a million population.

Explaining how the country achieved this feat, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has detailed that the country is able to carry out so many tests in the space of three months because of a scientific method known as ‘pooling’ of samples.

“Pooling just means that if you have 1,000 samples, you put them in pools of ten and, therefore, you test, at a time, 100 pools. So, instead of testing 1,000 samples, you actually test 10,000 samples”, Prof William Ampofo, Head of Virology at the NMIMR explained at a press briefing last month.

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This method has caught the attention of the WHO, who, according to President Akufo-Addo in his Sunday address has contacted his Government on how to get other African countries to adopt this ‘pooling’ method and ramp up their testing capabilities.

The President remarked that it is a sign the country is doing something right in the fight against the virus.

“We certainly must be doing something right in Ghana. Our country has administered more tests per a million people than any other country in Africa and infact, the World Health Organization has reached out to us to share our sample pooling experience with other African countries so they can adopt this strategy and also ramp up their testing capabilities,” the President said.

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