ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Minister of Health Lia Tadesse has commended a recently inaugurated Chinese-built COVID-19 test kit plant for its role in helping the east African country fight the COVID-19 disease.
In a recent interview, Tadesse said with testing being the key pillar of the fight against the COVID-19 disease, the commissioning of the plant will help boost the capacity of the country's anti-COVID strategy.
"Testing is one of the critical pillars in this fight against COVID-19 and improving testing capacity relies on availability of kits," Tadesse told Xinhua.
"Having the ability to produce test kits locally would boost the country's capacity in terms of the fight against this COVID-19 and will ensure continuous availability of the test kits," Tadesse said.
The BGI Ethiopia COVID-19 test kit factory, located inside the Bole Lemi industrial park on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, was inaugurated by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last September.
Ethiopia expects the COVID-19 test kit plant will save much-needed foreign currency that the Ethiopian government spends towards importing test kits.
Tadesse said the COVID-19 test kit plant established as a joint venture between the Ethiopian government and a Chinese private firm BGI Genomics Co. Ltd is expected at full capacity to produce 10 million test kits annually.
"Once the plant reaches peak capacity of 10 million kits production annually, it will not only be serving Ethiopia, but will also be able to serve other countries in the east African region and even the wider African continent," Tadesse told Xinhua.
Noting that Ethiopia faces a variety of preexisting health challenges on top of the new COVID-19 outbreak, she said the COVID-19 test kit plant was also built to operate for other purposes.
"We're looking beyond COVID-19 that this plant capacity will enable us to produce other testing kits for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, once we've dealt with this pandemic," Tadesse said. Enditem