Government is currently seeking to buy more Coronavirus testing kits, Minister of Health and Wellness Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic told Parliament on Monday.
The Minister was speaking on the Appropriation Bill as the House of Assembly sat to shape the central Government’s budget for the fiscal year when begins next month.
Lt. Col. Bostic: “The Government of Barbados, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, is actually at the moment trying to source additional testing kits that we will purchase cause we recognise that the Government has a responsibility to the citizens of this country to try to get as many kits available for use in Barbados in the event that we need to have those kits.”
He was responding to a question from Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams who inquired about the country’s readiness for mass testing for coronavirus.
The head of the national public health laboratory also told Abrahams that any increase in the volume of testing will cause delays.
Songee Beckles, director of the Best Dos Santos Public Health Lab, said: “It is four hours [for testing] but that is only because we have very few samples coming in.
“I imagine that it will hit the shores of Barbados at some point and then obviously there would be a delay in terms of the numbers of samples coming in and processing them and actually producing a result.
“In terms of reagents no, because we really don’t know how it will balloon the capacity that we have at this point in time we can probably do another 80 tests.”
The director said that while the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has indicated that they will supply reagents to do another 300 to 400 tests, she cannot say that that is enough.
Beckles told lawmakers: “In terms of capacity we are actually receiving the reagents from PAHO at this point in time we will also try to order some through… website influenza resource reagents.
“We actually have five persons that were trained and we have three machines that can actually run so we have the possibility that if there is one machine goes down we have back up machines that we can use.
“I think we are very well off in terms of our capacity for testing.”
Barbados is one of the few countries in the English-speaking region that are doing the testing. Countries include: Jamaica, Trinidad, Dominica, Guyana. Medical officials here were trained on the testing by PAHO.