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BY UPESI REPORTER,4TH MAY 2020-Dr. Nyambura Moremi, the Director and Quality Manager of Tanzania’s National Health Laboratory, has been suspended pending investigations.
The suspension comes a day after President John Magufuli questioned the credibility of coronavirus testing kits being used at the lab.
“Kufuatia hotuba ya Mhe. Dkt. John Pombe Magufuli Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania ya tarehe 3 Mei wakati akimwapisha Waziri wa Katibu na Sheria ambapo pia alibainisha changamoto za utendaji wa Maabara ya Taifa ya Afya ya Jamii, Waziri wa Afya, Maendeleo ya Jamii, Jinsia, Wazee na Watoto. Mhe. Ummy Mwalimu (Mb.) amechukua hatua zifuatazo:
“Amemwelekeza Katibu Mkuu (Afya) kuwasimamisha kazi mara moja Mkurugenzi wa Maabara ya Taifa ya Afya ya Jamii Dkt. Nyambura Moremi na Bw. Jacob Lusekelo Meneja Udhibiti wa Ubora ili kupisha uchunguzi,” a Press statement from the Health Ministry reads.
A team of experienced researchers has also been set up to investigate how the lab collects and tests COVID-19 samples.
Prof. Eligius Lyamula from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences will lead the team of nine researchers.
They are expected to report their findings on May 13, 2020.
On Sunday, President Magufuli dismissed as faulty the coronavirus test kits used in Tanzania saying they had returned positive results on samples taken from a sheep and a pawpaw.
The COVID-19 testing kits had been imported from abroad, Magufuli said, though he did not give further details.
The president said he had instructed Tanzanian security forces to check the quality of the kits.
They had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including from a pawpaw, a rabbit and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages.
These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the coronavirus, with the lab technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
Samples from the pawpaw and the sheep tested positive for COVID-19, the president said, adding this meant it was likely that some people were being tested positive when in fact they were not infected by the coronavirus.
As of Sunday, Tanzania had recorded 480 cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths.