NHLS fires courier company responsible for Covid-19 test kits found on roadside

Covid-19 test sample
Covid-19 test sample
Image: 123RF/Jarun Ontakrai

The services of the courier company responsible for ferrying the Covid-19 test kits that were found on the roadside near East London  have  been terminated with immediate effect.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Health Laboratory Service said the actions of Gibela Trade and Invest  and its staff were found to be negligent and a risk to human life.

A preliminary investigation was conducted into the incident in which NHLS samples were lost in transit on the N2 highway near Mdantsane.

NHLS CEO Dr Kamy Chetty said the loss of the specimens amounted to a violation of patients rights to protection of their medical records, privacy and confidentiality and the right to dignity.

“It potentially places the lives of those patients and their families at risk as well as those members of the public that may have come into contact with any positive specimens.

“At a time when our country is dealing with a state of disaster due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these actions are reprehensible and the NHLS has taken swift action to terminate the services of Gibela Trade and Invest.”

Two other courier companies that are already contracted to the NHLS in the Eastern Cape have agreed to take over the routes and were in operation from Thursday.

NHLS Eastern Cape regional manager Tabita Makula  said: “We are grateful to our other courier suppliers for stepping into the gap and assisting us at short notice, their efforts to extend their service so quickly will ensure that specimen transportation will continue with as little disruption as possible”.

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