Don't forget the labs

Letters to the Editor

Don't forget the labs

Thursday, March 19, 2020

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Dear Editor,

It is self-evident that the world economy will be brought to its knees if we cannot curb the rapid dispersion of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Over 100 countries have tasted the wrath of this demonic malady and it continues to penetrate the borders of other nations.

A major factor in this rapid dispersion is ill-equipped medical laboratories, which result in delayed confirmations of the coronavirus.

Regardless of the planning and preparation done in the health ministry, very little was done at the laboratory level.

The unseen profession of medical technologists play an essential role in the control of any pandemic. They are the ones, via molecular diagnostic testing, who make the confirmation that the coronavirus is present in blood samples collected from patients. Hence, the intent of this written outburst is for more attention to be placed on the role of the medical laboratory in the warfare against this microbe.

Although the coronavirus outbreak is not a death sentence, it is an example of how small things (microorganisms) can impact big things (world economies).

No matter how small and irrelevant the medical laboratory might seem to the public, it has a big impact on whether we win this war against COVID-19.

Ways the health ministry can assist the medical laboratories in Jamaica include:

1) training programmes to equip medical technologists with the expertise needed to deal with COVID-19 cases;

2) providing all medical laboratories islandwide with the necessary personal protective equipment in case all hospitals have to be used to quarantine COVID-19 patients; and

3) supplying adequate amounts of test kits and reagents to all medical laboratories.

These strategies highlighted do not guarantee Jamaica a victory in this debacle, but theyt could minimise the number of deaths and prevent an economic shutdown.

Gavin Omar Dixon

Medical technologist

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