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Government to equip NPHL, Oncology Reference Laboratory

The Ministry of Health is working to ensure that the National Public Health Laboratory’s (NPHL) Oncology Reference Laboratory acquires modern diagnostic equipment.

The modern equipment acquired will allow more accurate testing and detection of Cancer, using Molecular methods. The use of molecular markers, will allow early detection of cancers, which will in turn improve patient prognosis.

Speaking during the celebration of the accreditation status and other milestones achieved by NPHL, at NPHL grounds, Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, the Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mutahi Kagwe, expressed satisfaction in the effort by NPHL, to increase the capacity to analyze cancer samples, from 600 in 2019 to more than 3,000 in the Financial Year 2020/21.

“I would like to thank the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) for supporting the continued enhancement of the National Oncology Reference Laboratory, as a National Centre of Excellence in cancer diagnosis and our research and development partners for supporting the NPHL, to achieve these milestones,” he said.

Kagwe mentioned the Department of Laboratory Services as one of the major transformations at the NPHL initiated by his office, adding that, NPHL managed to achieve great milestones in a period where the global healthcare system, grappled with the pandemic effects.

“I know that many at times, many have been wondering what variants we are dealing with for various diseases and especially Covid-19. I am happy to announce that the Department has secured funding amounting to approximately Sh300 million, for establishment of a whole Genome Sequencing facility at NPHL,” he said.

The facility, according to the CS, will allow the Ministry to actively participate in screening and identification of variant strains and strains of concern, not only for Covid-19, but also for other pathogens that include HIV, TB, Malaria, Influenza and other neglected Tropical Diseases.

Kagwe noted that until now, all sequencing for Covid-19 variants have been done on behalf of the Ministry, by partners such as ILRI, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust programme, CDC and The Walter Reed Project.

“Finally, the milestones achieved by NPHL, will not only support the mandates of the Ministry of Health, but will also support the provision of better diagnosis and treatment to all citizens, in both public and private testing facilities, in all counties in the country,” he said.

By Mical Imbukwa

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