Sunday, 3 May 2020


DOCTORS have urged the government to work on improving the turnaround time of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results for coronavirus (Covid-19) which they say is way too long.

PCR tests are being done to check for the presence of Covid-19 in human beings.
 So far in Zimbabwe results have been taking between two and three days to be ready while patients are waiting for them at home.

Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) said this is risky as positive Covid-19 patients could be spreading the virus in their homes without knowing within those three days.

“We commend the government for decentralising testing to Mpilo Hospital and implore that more centres be opened. We are however concerned with the long turnaround time for results. In some of the scenarios, suspected cases waiting for the PCR tests results will have been told to go home and wait for a phone call to avail their results.

With the current decentralisation of services, the ministry can utilise the available counselling services from counsellors, nurses and doctors in the different units to take part in availing results,” the doctors said in a statement.

Doctors said there is need for training of those responsible for divulging results to avoid situations whereby results are shared on social media before their owners are informed.

This comes after a Bulawayo nurse who recently tested positive for Covid-19 and identified herself as #case 15 complained that she saw her results on social media before getting formal communication from health officials.

Health and Childcare minister Obadiah Moyo said PCR results take long as they have to test samples from all over the country in only two centres.

“The reason why our results take longer to come out is to do with the testing scheme. We have to batch the samples which will be coming from all over the country. The testing system itself takes a long time before you get the results.

“We have the PCR system which takes five hours and part of that testing system requires that after the samples have been taken from the patient, you have to extract it and then do what are called Oral or Nasal-phyryngial Swabbing,” Moyo said. Daily News


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