The Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) does not have the capacity to test 10,000 samples daily in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
In a report to the Senate Health Committee, the state agency said it can only test 4,700 samples due to a shortage of among others, technical and scientific staff.
“Covid-19 testing has been constrained by erratic supply of laboratory consumables and Personal Protective Equipment,” the report read in part.
The medical research institute noted that it can currently conduct 1, 500 tests daily in Nairobi, 1,500 in Kisumu, 500 in Busia-Alupe, 600 in Kericho, 500 in Kilifi and 100 in Madera.
The agency wants the government to supply laboratory consumables including reagents and PPEs and additional testing machines.
Kemri also wants more staff employed.
Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians &Technologists Board (KMLTTB) told the senate committee that 41 laboratories have been approved for Covid-19 testing; 15 private and 26 public labs.
On the backlog being experienced, KMLTTB said more facilities are being assessed and will soon be upgraded.
“The target is to have all 47 counties to be able to carry out screening tests for Covid-19 to reduce the referrals,” said KMLTTB, adding that it lacks financial backing from the National Treasury.
The virus has so far killed 1,441 people countrywide, and infected 81,656 others.
54,125 others have recovered from the novel COVID-19.