The Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has clarified on Covid-19 samples that reportedly tested positive by mistake.
President Museveni while addressing Parliament and the country on Thursday revealed that some samples were erroneously confirmed positive in a testing lab at Makerere.
In clarification, Minister Aceng while addressing the press at Nile Avenue on Saturday said that such errors in handling test samples are common.
Aceng said that several factors such as errors before, during, or after the analysis, can cause a sample to test positive when it’s not.
She said, “Errors in handling test samples are not uncommon in laboratory management. That is why multiple tests are done and there is provision for second and third parties to do confirmatory tests on the same sample if the need arises.”
What exactly happened?
Aceng revealed that between 3rd and 4th June, a batch of 50 samples from within the Kampala area was analyzed in Makerere University Laboratory and yielded results that were detected as positive.
The test results according to Dr. Aceng, were communicated to the respective individuals as part of Infection Prevention and Control, and the necessary measures were undertaken.
“However, as part of routine quality assurance procedures, some samples were sent to UVRI for re-testing. There was discordance in some of the samples in this batch. This then required the entire batch yo retested,” Aceng said.
“When the batch was retested, some of the previously confirmed positive cases (9) were found to be negative and the individuals were informed accordingly. This discrepancy was also brought to the attention of H.E the President.”
Several Members of Parliament have since called for the closure of the testing laboratory at Makerere and investigations into the matter, but Dr. Aceng said this was” an isolated error and does not affect all the other tests” that have been conducted since quality assurance is an integral part of laboratory testing.
“The nine cases have now been discounted from our statistics to give a total confirmed number of 685. We appeal to the population to disregard the false stories circulating in both print and social media.”
“The Ministry of Health recognizes the invaluable role played by Makerere University and the professionalism by which they handle their duties.”
Dr. Aceng said that going forward, the ministry will carry out frequent quality control procedures, increase the number of personnel in the laboratory to match the workload, continuously train the laboratory staff among other measures to ensure effectiveness.