Eastern Caribbean Countries and United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) have rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and have managed to establish in-country capacity for COVID-19 laboratory molecular testing within a few months of the detection of the first few sporadic cases.
Country resources were used to this effect but also countries and territories benefited from technical cooperation and assistance from regional and international partners and bilateral cooperation agencies. In this regard, in the past 6 months PAHO provided Barbados, OECS member states and UKOTs with enzymes worth 60,000 reactions, extraction kits worth 5,000 extractions, and primers and probes worth 104,476 reactions. In addition, RT-PCR internal controls, plates and strips were distributed in various quantities. Despite this ongoing support from partners, it is highly anticipated that reopening borders to international traffic will significantly increase demand for testing to the point that existing laboratory capacity might be challenged.
It is against this background that the PAHO/WHO office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries is organizing a webinar to discuss the scaling up of COVID-19 testing in Eastern Caribbean Countries and UKOTs in the context of reopening borders to the outside world.
What: COVID-19: Scaling up Laboratory Testing Strategy
Date: Thursday 30 July 2020
How: To join the webinar, use the following link to register https://bit.ly/311T0sa
Agenda and speakers:
- Welcome and introductory remarks - Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados ad Eastern Caribbean Countries
- PAHO/WHO guidance on laboratory testing for COVID-19 and procurement of reagents and laboratory supplies - Dr Lionel Gresh, PAHO/WHO Virologist, Washington - DC
- Scaling up in-country testing capacity for COVID-19: experience and lessons learned – Barbados - Ms Songee Beckles, Director of Best dos Santos Public Health Laboratory
- In-country capacity building for COVID-19 testing: experience and lessons learned – Antigua and Barbuda - Dr Lester Simon, Laboratory Director, Mount St John’s Medical Center
- Rapid Antibody Testing and utility in surveillance and case management of COVID-19 cases: experience and lessons learned – Dominica - Dr Ahmed Shalauddin, National Epidemiologist
- Capacity for COVID-19 testing in the French Departments of the Americas: experience and possible collaboration with Caribbean countries - Dr Georges Dos Santos, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Service de Virologie, Martinique
- Closing remarks - Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries