Ethiopian Minister of Health Lia Tadesse on Tuesday said a recently inaugurated Chinese built factory has supplied the first 250,000 COVID-19 test kits to the east African country’s health authorities.
Tadesse said during a meeting held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa evaluating Ethiopia’s eight months’ performance in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 disease.
“Last week, BGI Ethiopia factory supplied 250,000 COVID-19 test kits to the state-owned Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI),” said Tadesse.
“Ethiopia hopes the BGI Ethiopia COVID-19 test kit factory will soon start exporting test kits to neighboring countries,” she further said.
The factory, located inside the Bole Lemi industrial park on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, was inaugurated in September.
Ethiopia expects the COVID-19 test kit factory to save much-needed foreign currency that the Ethiopian government spends towards importing test kits.
The importation of the vast majority of COVID-19 test kits from abroad has been causing financial and logistical challenges to Ethiopia, which had confirmed 89,860 COVID-19 cases and 1,365 COVID-19 related deaths.
The COVID-19 test kit factory 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.