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Namdeb sets up own Covid-19 laboratory

Namibia‘s diamond mining company, Namdeb, has established its own fully fledged Covid-19 testing laboratory in the company’s private hospital at Oranjemund.

Namdeb chief executive officer Riaan Burger in a media statement says with its current staff complement the laboratory will play a vital role in the diagnostic testing process.

It is expected the facility would analyse at least 48 tests per day with a 24-hour turnaround time for results.

“While this facility is very important to ensure we manage the Covid-19 risk within our business, we are also honoured to be able to assist our community and the country in alleviating some of the pressure to conduct testing,” Burger says.

According to the company’s chief operating officer, Jurgen Jacob, the establishment of the facility is timeous, given the current surge of the Covid-19 cases in the country and limited testing capacity.

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“Moving swiftly to acquire all the medical equipment at a time when the world is facing shortages has been challenging, but certainly a necessity. It is also rewarding, with most of the equipment having multiple uses beyond Covid-19,” Jacob says.

Jacob says Namdeb has been instrumental in making isolation units at Oranjemund and Lüderitz available and setting them up, as well as procuring essential medical equipment such as ventilators, hospital beds and testing equipment.

Along with other precautionary measures, Jacob says the Namdeb hospital has put in place a policy framework that would provide the hospital staff and Oranjemund community guidance in dealing with suspected Covid-19 cases.

The Namdeb laboratory meets the Namibia Institute of Pathology’s Covid-19 standards and was authorised to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing by the executive director of health and social services, Ben Nangombe on Tuesday.

Namdeb has agreed to consider helping the state with testing in line with its capacity.