PSOJ, MAJ push for antigen point-of-care tests by more private practitioners

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PSOJ, MAJ push for antigen point-of-care tests by more private practitioners

Friday, January 22, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) are urging the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) to grant wider access of antigen test kits to members of the medical profession.

The organisations explained that worldwide rapid antigen testing which is done at the point-of-care has proven useful in reducing the time to diagnosis in symptomatic people suspected of having COVID-19.

“We are strongly advocating that the MOHW opens this area up to private practitioners to expand the testing ecosystem so businesses and individuals can benefit from a more efficient diagnosis and response process.

“With the continued increase in cases of COVID-19 islandwide, there has been increasing pressure on the laboratory testing capacity of the nation. Additionally, the wait times for confirmatory tests have increased and will continue to do so as the United Kingdom and Canada now require PCR testing for international travel. Increased testing timelines have the effect of delaying the diagnosis and subsequent activities such as contact tracing and quarantine/ isolation,” the organisations said in a press release today.

The PSOJ and the MAJ said a more robust and expanded testing environment will not only provide more testing options for individuals and businesses but will also aid in reducing informality in the testing ecosystem. It will also help in reducing the time for implementation of appropriate public health measures, the organisations said.

The organisations further called on the health ministry to provide a channel via which the private practitioners may get the necessary guidance, procedures, and access to suitable point-of-care test kits for them to ramp up their much-needed contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

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