How Senegal is leading the fight against COVID-19 by creating $1 test kits and 3D printed ventilators

Senegal has been making giant strides in its contribution to the fight against COVID-19. The West African nation which has recorded only 736 COVID-19 cases is in the race to make testing for Coronavirus faster and more affordable. After announcing earlier in March that researchers at the Pasteur Institute in coastal Senegal were working on releasing a diagnostic test kit that can detect respiratory illnesses, the country has successfully developed a COVID-19 test kit that costs only $1 (approximately N400).

According to a report by Aljazeera, the country has also developed a 3D printed ventilator that costs $60 which is expected to edge out imported ones that could cost up to $16,000.

The Director of the Pasteur Institute, Amadou Sall, told Aljazeera that the COVID-19 testing kit would function similarly to a pregnancy test kit.

"There is no need for a highly equipped lab. It's a simple test that can be done anywhere. The idea is to rapidly produce two to four million kits, not just for us but for African countries so that we can detect and isolate patients quickly," Amadou Sall said.

With the new cost-effective testing kits, Senegal has begun conducting COVID-19 tests to all citizens of the country whether they show symptoms or not. This puts the country ahead of the curve in the global race to end COVID-19. It has so far recorded the highest recovery rate in Africa and third in the world.

The progress has also caused pointing of fingers by people from other African countries who believe their countries are not doing enough to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many Nigerians congratulated Senegal, they equally wished their own country could take similar measures in dealing with COVID-19.

"This was so inspiring to watch, innovation for efficiency and to scale down costs. I watched this and thought why can't Nigeria do this, then I realised its the same way we don't do a lot of things we can and should do," Oludarah tweeted.

Despite the criticisms, the Nigerian government has been relentless in keeping the spread of COVID-19 to the barest minimum. To date, the country has recorded 1,273 cases, 239 recoveries, and 40 deaths.

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