30 June 2020
The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) is perturbed by the incident which saw one of its courier service providers losing samples in transit recently. The specimens belonged to the NHLS and were packaged in specimen bags with the NHLS laboratory request forms and a swab/specimen.
All the specimens were from the Buffalo City Municipality area. Amongst these samples there was a package of three urgent samples referred from Bhisho Laboratory to Port Elizabeth for COVID testing. The samples were discovered by a passer-by on the N2 between King Williams Town and East London on Monday morning.
Subsequent to the discovery of the dumped specimens, the NHLS dispatched its officials to the site to investigate and they found a total of 80 samples that were scattered around. The bulk of the samples were for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.
The NHLS courier services in this area are outsourced to Gibela Trade and Investments 1328CC . Gibela Trade and Investments 1328CC is therefore responsible for sample transportation between health facilities and laboratories.
The NHLS has reported the incident to the police and requested a full report from the courier on what caused the incident. The initial report from the courier states that the canvas cover of the bakkie had opened without the driver realising it. Further investigations will take place and the NHLS will take the appropriate legal action against the supplier. The NHLS has contacted all the affected patients and deployed nurses to recollect the samples.