Niue to increase Covid-19 test capacity thanks to container laboratory

March 24, 2021

Pressure on ​​Niue's health system is expected to ease, thanks to a major upgrade that will allow them to increase their Covid-19 testing capacity.

The upgrade will come in the form of a fully-equipped medical laboratory commissioned by the World Health Organisation.

Medical centres set up in Niue have a GeneXpert system and Biofire machine already​ conducting and analysing nasal swab Covid-19 tests.

The new lab designed by the Pacific Pathology Training Centre ​will support the work already happening in Niue by providing a high quality space for locals to get tested.

Programme Manager Navin Karan says: ​"The first unit holds the phlebotomy units, where patients will come and the lab technician will collect the blood. I understand they do it in a nurses center at the Niue Foou hospital so this will allow them to do this in one laboratory unit."​

​He says it's also built to withstand natural disasters.

"It can be lifted and moved around...we have metal shutters for the windows on the exterior they will help with transportation and also for hurricane’s also cyclone safe."

But Karan says another major benefit of the lab is it increases the capacity to test for communicable and non-communicable diseases in Niue.​

PPTC Programme Manager Navin Karan says labs have been designed to withstand natural disasters.

Niue High Commissioner to New Zealand Fisa Pihigia expressed his thanks. 

"This is to strengthen our health setup and our preparedness for any eventuality of COVID19, but also to strengthen the health system back in Niue. So I sincerely say thank you ​to all of you who played a part to construct the laboratory," says Pihigia.​​​

​The lab is expected to leave Auckland on the 3rd of April and arrive in Niue on the 21st of April.

Karan says: "I can’t wait for these to be on the water to get to Niue so they can start the use." ​

Labs are fully equipped for health authorities to process and analyse their own COVID tests.