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Press Release from 2020-04-23 / Group, KfW Development Bank

Combating corona with rapid diagnosis: KfW supports mobile laboratories in eastern Africa

  • First mobile laboratories delivered to Uganda and Rwanda
  • Provision of corona tests
  • KfW provides support totaling EUR 27 million

In light of the corona pandemic, which is currently also spreading throughout Africa, the East African Community (EAC) delivered the first mobile laboratories for fast and modern molecular biological diagnosis of infectious diseases to Uganda and Rwanda. Further mobile laboratories will be delivered to the remaining EAC countries in the coming days. Furthermore, COVID-19 diagnostic tests have already been sent to all EAC countries. KfW has been supporting the East African Community since 2018 on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a total of EUR 27 million by building up a network of mobile laboratories for pandemic prevention and – with a view to the longer term – fighting antimicrobial resistances. In the ongoing first phase, a total of nine mobile laboratories are being financed for the East African countries, which together build a network coordinated by the EAC. The intent of this network is to quickly diagnose epidemics like Ebola and take appropriate measures. Laboratory experts from the six EAC countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda were trained at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) in Hamburg and received further training in the use and operation of the laboratories in Arusha, which can now also be used to diagnose COVID-19. Two laboratories were already supplied and put into operation before the training: one in Uganda to monitor the border region with DR Congo (Ebola) and one in Tanzania due to a dengue fever outbreak.

"This project is designed to quickly detect the development of epidemics in East Africa. It now comes exactly at the right time to support the East African countries in the fight against COVID-19. The development of laboratory and diagnostic capacities is currently an enormous challenge for the whole world. We are pleased that we can make an important and timely contribution to fighting pandemics in the East African countries”, explained Prof. Dr Joachim Nagel, Member of the Executive Board of KfW Group.

Information about KfW Development Bank can be found here