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Second COVID-19 Mission to Kosovo (17 to 29 January 2021)

Following a request of the National Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Kosovo an RKI mission of laboratory experts was deployed to Kosovo from 17 to 29 January 2021 for the duration of two weeks. The aim of the mission was to assist local colleagues with the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, by providing support in setting up PCR-testing capacities in the regional public health laboratories. The main objective, decentralisation of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics, was based on recommendations resulting from the assessment that had been conducted during the previous mission in September 2020.

A laboratory expert team from ZIG4 visited five Regional Public Health Laboratories (RPHL) to support local staff in installation and set-up of newly equipped molecular laboratories, and to consult on laboratory and procedural organisation. They also provided theoretical and practical refresher trainings on molecular SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. A first test run has been conducted in all laboratories by local staff with support of the RKI team.

Overall, since the last mission in September, huge progress has been made towards enabling regional SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics in Kosovo. All visited RPHL premises were prepared and equipped to conduct molecular diagnostics. Staff numbers have been elevated and staff members extensively trained in the National Public Health Laboratory in Pristina. Following the mission all RPHL visited by the RKI team are now able to conduct SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR testing.

Practical training of sample inactivation in the Regional Public Health Laboratory in Gjakova, Kosovo.Practical training of sample inactivation in the Regional Public Health Laboratory in Gjakova, Kosovo. Source: RKI

Local staff members and the RKI team in the Regional Public Health Laboratory in Mitrovica, KosovoLocal staff members and the RKI team in the Regional Public Health Laboratory in Mitrovica, Kosovo Source: RKI

Date: 24.03.2021