First Diagnostic Testing Facilities In The Caribbean Established In Grenada

St. George’s University, working in collaboration with the Government of Grenada have upheld their commitment to the nation—to ensure that its residents remain safe and healthy in the midst of the global pandemic.

Establishing testing capabilities on campus and the donation of critical medical equipment to Grenada General Hospital have been crucial components of the University’s ongoing partnership with the Government.

Establishing one of the first diagnostic testing facilities in the Caribbean, aptly demonstrates the extent of SGU’s commitment in its partnership with the Government of Grenada, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), a research and education foundation based at SGU.

Utilizing the technology and qualified technicians from St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, state of the art qPCR testing operations on campus have so far resulted in more than 3,000 individuals (with and without symptoms) receiving accurate, safe, and prompt COVID-19 diagnostic tests, with results received within eight hours. These outcomes helped guide the government’s COVID-19 policies, including at airports and ports of entry, during the peak of the pandemic.

Dr. Calum Macpherson, Dean of the School Graduate Studies, professor of parasitology and public health researcher, and lead of qPCR testing operations expressed, “Because there was a global shortage of re-agents required for testing, we couldn’t have had the testing capacity if not for the extraordinary efforts of the Minister of Health.

We have one home—Grenada—and our common agenda was to diagnose the virus, and implement a test, trace, and isolate policy from early on in the pandemic, which has served us well.”

The campus-based site served as the national testing service into the summer months, and still operates as one of approximately 250 quality control labs around the world that are overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO). Results from SGU’s lab have been in 100 per cent concordance with the expected test results from WHO.

SGU’s diagnostic team also helped design and set up the Ministry of Health’s testing site at Grenada General Hospital, including training of lab staff and troubleshooting with initial qPCR lab testing. According to the WHO, Grenada has reported 27 COVID-19 cases and zero COVID- 19 related deaths to date. SGU’s testing site has since been a beacon of excellence for the entire region.

Hon. Nickolas Steele, Grenada’s Minister of Health and Social Security of Grenada, and member of the Executive Council of the World Health Organization, said, “This public-private partnership is an exemplar of cooperation.

Remarkable results have been achieved through such collaboration and we are grateful for the efforts of SGU which has demonstrated that it is a true partner in Grenada’s development”.

As hospitals and medical facilities around the world saw a surge of patients, St. George’s University tapped into its international consortium of resources to facilitate the acquisition and delivery of 18 additional ventilators bringing the total stock to 20.

SGU also secured tens of thousands of pieces of personal protection equipment, 18 combination defibrillator monitors, two handheld ultrasound machines, two portable X-ray machines, as well as blood gas analyzers and supplies.

“The substantial support from SGU served to bolster our efforts to tackle COVID-19. Their acquisition and donation of critical medical resources such as ventilators and PPE for health workers helped to ensure that we were better prepared to deal with any potential outbreak of the disease here in Grenada” said Dr. Carol McIntosh, Director of Hospital Services.

“Since breaking ground more than 40 years ago, all the way to present day, we truly believe that we couldn’t have chosen a better partner for this university,” said Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University.

“Our mission has always been to improve healthcare on national, regional, and global levels. We are thrilled to have had the support of the government and the people of Grenada throughout this journey.”

St. George’s University

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