Belize Refuses Donation of Testing Kits from Republic of Korea

Posted By: Marty

Belize Refuses Donation of Testing Kits from Republic of Korea - 04/09/20 10:55 AM

There is a most worrisome report coming out of the region tonight. Heads of Government of SICA met in March and adopted a Regional Contingency Plan to combat the novel coronavirus. A release from SICA says that the region is benefitting from one hundred and eighty thousand testing kits from the Republic of Korea, which is one of the region’s strategic partner.

But according to the release, all SICA countries accepted the donation with the exception of Belize, yes, Belize. The kits are described as being ninety-nine percent accurate and compatible with those used in Central America. We tried to reach the Ministry of Health for explanation, but no one was available at this time.

But we note that on Tuesday, Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero said that fifteen thousand kits were ordered and three thousand were on the way. Today, however, he said that Belize is running low on the viral swabs.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“Just like in the region we are running low in the viral swabs which are the specific lab equipment that you use to be able to take a viral swab. We are trying to outsource that. We thought that we could have gotten a batch next week. We are working with the PAHO regional office but all countries are having difficulty in terms of accessing those viral swabs.”

Channel 5
Posted By: Marty

Re: Belize Refuses Donation of Testing Kits from Republic of Korea - 04/10/20 11:31 AM

Why The So. Korea Tests Wouldn't Work

But, it's not quite that simple as the Director of Health Services explained today on "Ask The Experts".

Manzanero explained that the type of PCR testing units that Belize has - which were provided by PAHO - are simply not compatible with what was on offer:

Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director of Health Services

“We had said to the lab can you review this specifications, is this something we're going to be able to work with and they had 3 basic concerns which is general compatibility of reagent components with primers and probes and I'm reading textually what is written, whether they are compatible with the enzyme that they were using, whether the tests have been validated in the region, they said basically advice from the international forums of web discussions, so that you are able to establish performance characteristics based on our population and the 3rd concern because again, I had mention the issue of training, if any training of specialised knowledge was needed for perpetration of master mixes, is that going to be provided since the labs that they have no knowledge of this testing kit that was being given. Those are little foot notes that I think made us indicate to the respective ministry that was in communication with CABAY that what we were looking for is and we said the specific platform, this is what we're using, this is where our staff has been trained because you understand that accepting test kits, you have to find out if you have the equipment, you have the testing capability, whether those have been validated, whether we need any specific abrasion measures for the machine that is going to be used and even if we procure any machines, the maintenance capability in country. The analogy perhaps it may look good, but it doesn't necessarily mean it works and this is like a marriage, sometimes marriages look good but it's not always compatible, that's I think perhaps the best explanation I can give you. Again, recall that the kits that initially came to us were from PAHO, we never said no."”

Channel 7

Belize is conducting COVID-19 testing at world standards according to Dr. Clive Landis, Chairman of UWI Regional COVID-19 Task Force. Dr. Landis made an appearance on Channel 5’s Open Your Eyes morning show yesterday to discuss the Caribbean’s response to COVID-19 and this is what he had to say about testing in Belize and the region.
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