The PCR testing capability of the Ministry of Health has been expanded.
According to the May 2023 Cabinet Notes, the government acknowledged the support of the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) to purchase a BioFire System.
Through the UKOT Lab Strengthening Project from the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the FCDO has provided the machines to Ascension and seven other Overseas Territories, including Montserrat.
This new technology in PCR testing will enhance Montserrat’s diagnostic capabilities for communicable diseases and represents a game changer in diagnostics, treatment, surveillance and protection from infectious diseases.
“It’s really a life changing machine,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Camille Thomas-Gerald told Discover Montserrat. “
The BioFire system will assist with the identification of a wide range of pathogens: bacteria, viruses, parasites from respiratory, enteric, cerebral and blood culture samples. It can also identify antimicrobial resistance genes for some pathogens.
“The system also decreases turn around time for obtaining results. Normally culture and sensitivity take three days, but with the BioFire the results can be obtained within three hours,” the PS explained. “This is useful when there are public health situations that require speedy identification of pathogens.”
The donations are part of the from the UKHSA.