WHO Donates 250 Monkeypox Virus Generic PCR Test Kits To The Maldives To Enable In-Country Testing

On Sunday, the handover ceremony of 250 Monkeypox virus generic real-time PCR test kits took place between the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO). With this donation, testing and diagnosis of Monkeypox can be carried out and a minimum of 200 patients can be identified, isolated and given treatment.

Ever since WHO declared the Monkeypox outbreak as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC), Maldives has been responding to the virus in a responsible manner. This includes identifying suspected cases of Monkeypox and establishing the capacity to conduct case investigation, contract tracing and risk assessment and now testing.

While speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Health, his excellency Ahmed Naseem expressed his gratitude to WHO for receiving the 250 test kits and stated that additional kits will be received in the coming week. He also remarked that along with this generous contribution, WHO is closely working with the Ministry to carry out Monkeypox PCR training for laboratory staff and a virtual training programme will be conducted today. Leading medical labs in the Maldives will participate in this training and testing can be initiated immediately following the training session.

From the beginning of this year to July 2022, 19,000 confirmed cases of Monkeypox were reported to the WHO from 78 countries across all six regions. Although, currently the risk remains low for South East Asia Region the possibility of international spread still exists and therefore, WHO has urged all countries to take preventive measures to prepare themselves. Recommendations by WHO include taking on a coordinated response to stop transmission and paying utmost attention to protect vulnerable groups to the virus.

Common symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle ache and swollen lymph nodes and has a varying incubation duration from 5 to 21 days following infection.