The government on Thursday received a Covid-19 testing laboratory from Lephema Executive Transport which is expected to bolster the country’s testing capacity by increasing options.
The handover comes after the government and Executive Transport signed a build, operate and transfer agreement of the facility on 28 September 2020. The construction however started in February this year.
The facility is housed at the Berea District Hospital but will be run by Executive Transport and will only be handed over to the government once Lesotho is cleared of Covid-19.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times on the sidelines of the handover, Executive Transport project manager ‘Mamotake Matekane said the success of the project was a result of the collaborative efforts of the government and her company.
She said testing facility comes with 10 staffers including nurses, technologists, data clerks, digital specialists and the project manager.
“The costs of constructing the laboratory, stocking of reagents (testing consumables) and the salaries of the staffers will be handled by Executive Transport,” Ms Matekane said.
“The laboratory is going to operate privately and tests will cost M900 per person. We expect that the results should be available within 24 hours because all the processes will be done at the lab. For now, we will charge M750 for tests because we are running a promotion… “
The deal also comes with two mobile testing clinics which will be used to travel to other parts of the country to collect specimens to avoid the need of having all people travelling long distances to the lab. The mobile clinics will particularly come in handy for groups of people needing to be tested, she said.
Executive Transport spent M6, 25 million for the laboratory and an extra M2, 4 million for the two mobile clinics.
For his part, Executive Transport managing director Lebona Lephema said Lesotho must unite to defeat Covid-19.
“Lesotho is our country; no outsider can come in and do good for us when we do not take charge ourselves. We know that we have a weak health system, it is upon ourselves to work hard to change that. That is why we worked to so hard,” Mr Lephema said.
“We thank Prime Minister Moeketsi Major and the Minister of Health Motlatsi Maqelepo for giving us an opportunity to give back to the community.”
Dr Majoro thanked Executive Transport for assisting even when they were suffering resistance from government officials although he did not expand on the issue.
“Our challenge until today is that we had to prioritise testing people who presented signs and symptoms of Covid-19, hence those who did not show symptoms were left out.
“This is why we must expand our testing capacity and education, so, we are extremely thankful to Ntate Lephema for his support,” Dr Majoro said.