Benin is now ranked among the 12 states in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region carrying out more than 10 coronavirus tests per 10,000 people each week, the WHO’s Regional Office for Africa said Monday in a report. 

“From the single laboratory in the capital city, Benin now has 13 laboratories capable of testing for COVID-19, with all its 12 departments having at least one,” the report said. 

Regarding the strategies Benin embraced to boost its response to the pandemic, the WHO said triage and testing centers have been set up across the country’s 77 communes as well as at its health facilities, land border crossings and airport. 

“Mobile testing teams also carry out diagnosis in government offices and in private companies, while a hotline provides access to COVID-19 information and assistance,” it added.  

The report went on to say that the WHO alongside partner organizations “has supplied reagents, sample collection and testing kits as well as personal protective equipment to boost the COVID-19 response in Benin.” 

Through polymerase chain reaction tests – the reference for COVID-19 testing – and rapid diagnostic tests, Benin is currently conducting roughly 7,900 tests per week and has done over 222,000 tests cumulatively, Dr. Ange Dodji Dossou, the national director of medical services, said in the report. 

“A network of testing centers has been set up across the country to detect, issue alerts and trace people suspected to have contracted COVID-19,” Dossou was quoted as saying. 

“In the early phase of the pandemic, Benin, like many African countries, lacked adequate COVID-19 testing. Over the recent months, governments across the continent have ramped up diagnosis, which is crucial in understanding the scale and trend of COVID-19 infections as well as guiding public health measures against the virus,” the report said. 

So far, Benin – with a population of over 12 million — has confirmed 41 COVID-19-related deaths and 2,557 infections, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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