A campaign centre for testing the new coronavirus (Covid-19) has just been set up in the heart of the popular Derb Sultan district in Casablanca, a “first” for the private sector on a national scale.
The centre, which is part of the Derb Sultan Medical Analysis Laboratory, has an area of almost 300 metres for taking samples from people wishing to undergo screening, which are then sent to the laboratory premises for PCR analyses.
This new structure, which aims to support the efforts made by the Ministry of Health, welcomes citizens from Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm and on Saturdays until 12.30 pm, without prior appointment. The motto is simple: “first come, first served, each in turn”, in compliance with the barrier measures, essentially the wearing of masks and physical distance.
The centre, set up in coordination with local authorities and under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, began offering its services almost a month ago for the benefit of the population of the Casablanca region, which has the highest number of contaminations at the national level.
Every day, it carries out more than 200 laboratory tests for the benefit of the population of the various prefectures of Casablanca’s districts, but also for clients living outside the economic capital and confronted with the lack of this type of service in their places of residence. The centre offers its services to another category of citizens, namely those who need to be screened in an emergency for the purposes of a trip abroad.
The private sector can play a fundamental role in the detection of the new coronavirus and contribute to the state’s efforts to stem the proliferation of this virus, bearing in mind that the number of positive cases in Morocco has exceeded 120,000 since the first case was reported on 2 March, while the number of deaths has risen to over 2,000, mostly reported in the Casablanca-Settat region.
The creation of this centre comes in response to the call of King Mohammed VI to the private sector to become more involved in the country’s efforts to fight this pandemic and is a contribution to the national anti-coronavirus response, said Dr. Mohammed Touimi Benjelloun, head of the centre, in a statement to MAP.
To this end, it has mobilised a medical and administrative staff and the logistical equipment necessary to meet the expectations of patients who go there to carry out the tests within a reasonable period of time not exceeding 24 hours, in accordance with the health protocol and the reference price set by the supervisory ministry (700 DH), he continued.
The testing centre plays an important role for the country facing a pandemic that continues to claim victims every day, he said, noting that collaboration between the private and public sectors is crucial to contain its spread.
The objective of creating this centre is to bring the screening services of Covid-19 closer to the population and to facilitate access to it, as Derb Sultan is very well known throughout the region,” added the doctor, assuring that this structure is equipped with the necessary medical equipment and arranged in compliance with hygiene conditions, safety measures and international standards of sampling.
“We follow online everything that happens in the centre and the results are communicated to the regional health department of Casablanca-Settat to enable it to take care of and assist cases declared positive,” he said.
“We receive on average between 200 and 400 people a day and we manage to deliver the results fairly quickly, within 24 hours, in accordance with the specifications agreed with the Ministry of Health,” Benjelloun said, stressing the need to screen a large number of people in order to detect possible positive cases, treat them in time and, consequently, contain the spread of the virus in the Kingdom.
From now on, all medical biology laboratories can carry out Covid-19 screening, provided they meet all the requirements of the specifications of its second version, as part of the strengthening of the network of molecular and serological diagnostic laboratories, and in order to make these tests accessible to Moroccans and foreigners and to ensure broad coverage throughout Morocco, according to a recent circular from the Ministry of Health.
Authorised laboratories are therefore required to report all results to the health directorates and delegations within 24 hours of taking samples on the Ministry of Health’s IT platform.
The Ministry points out that the activities of these private laboratories will be subject to unannounced checks coordinated by the National Institute of Hygiene (INH), in collaboration with regional health teams.