Australia, WHO work together to increase COVID-19 testing capacity in Mongolia

2021-04-12 11:01:19

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. On April 9, Australia and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed a AUD 490,000 grant to assist the Government of Mongolia and WHO efforts in Mongolia to increase COVID-19 testing capacity. The funding will strengthen and expand PCR testing and diagnosis in Ulaanbaatar and key regional centers.

Signing on behalf of the Australian Government was HE Mr Dave Vosen, Australian Ambassador to Mongolia, while Dr Sergey Diorditsa, WHO Representative to Mongolia, signed on behalf of the WHO.

The “Surge capacity for early detection and active surveillance for COVID-19 in Mongolia” project will be managed by WHO Representative’s Office in Mongolia. In addition to increasing testing capacity, the project also aims to strengthen laboratory capacity in genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. Australia’s contribution will help procure and mobilize additional testing supplies and reagents. This will increase the number of specimens available for testing.

Combined with Ministry of Health and WHO activities that continue to provide ongoing COVID-19 testing training for staff at national and regional laboratories, the funding will increase the number of tests enabling the detection of mild and asymptomatic cases in the early stages so potential complications due to COVID-19 can be prevented and detect variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Australia is a strong and active partner in Mongolia and is working hard to strengthen our region's economic recovery, its health security and its stability. This funding, in addition to our support for vaccine procurement and distribution is another tangible activity driven by Australia’s priorities under our Partnerships for Recovery strategy,” said HE Mr Dave Vosen.

“As part of these efforts, we are pleased to partner with the WHO Representative’s Office in Mongolia to help minimize the risk of local transmission of COVID-19 in Mongolia at this critical time.”

Thanking the Government of Australia for this very timely contribution to further strengthen the national laboratory capacity in Mongolia, Dr Sergey Diorditsa said, “In preparation for launching the project, WHO has provided support to train three laboratory technicians from the National Center for Communicable Diseases in genomic sequencing in Japan. The project will help Mongolia not only conduct testing and early detection, but will provide support to detect variants of the virus by enabling laboratories to do genomic sequencing.”

WHO Representative Office in Mongolia