Unam gets N$3.6m Covid test machine

By Confidente Reporter

DEBMARINE Namibia has invested N$3.6 million in a Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test machine and also signed a Memorandum of Agreement partnership with the University of Namibia (Unam) School of Medicine to conduct tests.

Speaking at the handover ceremony that took place at the UNAM Hage Geingob Campus in Windhoek this week, Debmarine Namibia CEO Otto Shikongo said the investment will support government efforts in the national fight against the pandemic.

“The N$3.6 million Covid-19 PCR test equipment will play a vital role as it has a capacity of 250 samples per day with a 24-hour turnaround time for results. The sponsorship also supports the company’s internal strategy on protecting its employees and the community,” he said.

The PCR machine comes with all the equipment required to fully equip a laboratory for Covid-19 testing such as fridges, freeze samples, cabinets with ultra-violet to prep the specimens and centrifuge machines, a supply of consumables (including test kits), training and maintenance costs for a period of one year.

Shikongo said that the establishment of the current testing laboratory at Unam Hage Geingob Campus where the PCR machine will be set up will increase the diagnostic and prognostic testing process of Covid and complement the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) in order to accelerate the country’s testing capacity.

Shikongo said, “The company is committed to doing everything it can to protect its employees and communities. As a business, our first and most important value is to put safety first. We value the health and safety of our people above all else and are equally committed to delivering support to our country throughout this difficult period.”

He added that through this, the company’s aims at keeping its operations running safely, and to proactively support and supplement government efforts.

“While these are uncharted waters for everyone, we understand fully the tremendous pressure government is under and therefore I am pleased that our company can assist with this immediate need,” he said, adding that the School of Medicine has the capacity and capability to operate the Covid-19 testing laboratory.

He further mentioned that Debmarine and Unam have a long-standing partnership in different areas of studies and the laboratory will offer medical students real time clinical opportunity that would benefit the country greatly.

“The ownership of the machine will vest in Unam post the pandemic to test for other viruses, as applicable,” Shikongo stated.