COVID-19ECHO Session #14: Specimen Referral Systems for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

June 3, 2020

On 2 June 2020, this COVID-19 ECHO session was convened to discuss establishing an integrated specimen referral system (SRS) for SARS-CoV-2 testing recommended to enable access to testing services across the entire health pyramid. Many countries struggled to operationalise this guidance and failed to create sustainable and efficient sample transportation systems. Due to various challenges, the decentralization of PCR testing for COVID-19 was slow in most African countries. The timely transport of specimen to testing sites was thus critical, if the epidemic was to be controlled. In this session, Kameko Nichols, Specialist in Specimen Referral Networks and Independent Consultant, was joined by subject matter experts to present the current status of specimen referral for COVID-19 testing. They discussed innovative ways to leverage existing SRS networks, or to create new systems whilst maintaining acceptable safety, quality, and timeliness of sample transportation.