Muscat: Sohar Port and Freezone entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Health, together with the support of six tenants, for equipping a regional molecular PCR laboratory in the North Al Batinah Governorate.
The laboratory is set to be operational by first quarter 2021. The signing ceremony took place on Tuesday at Sohar Port and Freezone administration building.
The agreement was signed between Omar bin Mahmood Al Mahrizi, CEO Sohar Freezone, DCEO Sohar Port and Sultan Saif Al Sadi, Director General of Health Services in North Al Batinah Governorate, in the presence of representatives from the senior management of the parties mentioned above. The MoU signing is in line with the framework of improving healthcare services provided to citizens in the North Al Batinah, South Al Batinah, Musandam, Al Dhahira and Al Buraimi Governorates.
The new laboratory will act as an alternative to Central Public Health Laboratories of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the case of emergencies and comprises of a highly-qualified technical team of 12 employees, to meet the expected testing demands.
The PCR laboratory is a joint corporate social responsibility (CSR) project, in coordination with existing tenants at Sohar port, who will collectively support the development of the project. The tenants include OQ, Oiltanking Terminals, Sohar Power Company, C. Steinweg Oman, Majis Industrial Services and Sohar International Urea and Chemical Industries.
Commenting on the collaboration, Mohsin Al Jabri, Executive Manager of Corporate Affairs at Sohar Port and Freezone said, “The current situation has created the need for entities across all sectors, to join hands towards enhancing healthcare services, while simultaneously preventing and controlling sources of the infection as much as possible. This is possible by reinforcing the health system through the utilisation of modern and advanced technology, which has led to the development of this facility.”
“The laboratory will be vital in accelerating diagnostic processes to allow for timely treatment, with the average time to conduct tests expected to reduce from 2 weeks to 3 days, once operational. The lab will be equipped with the latest polymerisation apparatuses, approved by the Ministry of Health, to conduct the required tests for COVID-19. The devices are also planned to include analysis capabilities for other ailments, including influenza, haemorrhagic fevers and others in the future,” he added.
Sultan Saif Al Sadi, Director General of Health Services in North Al Batinah Governorate said, “Due to the recent spread of several epidemic diseases in North Al Batinah recently and the high demand for testing facilities there has arisen a need for developing a laboratory for infections and epidemiological diseases, equipped with latest tools used in the field.”
The agreement signed with Sohar Port and Freezone and its existing tenants is testimony to the success of partnerships between the public and private sectors. This is vital, especially given the prevalent conditions that the world and Sultanate are facing during this present time,” he added.
“We expect that this initiative will drive other companies across various levels, to also act on their social responsibilities. I extend my gratitude to Sohar Port and Freezone and its partners for being a part of this beneficial step and look forward to reinforcing our collaboration in the upcoming future,” he concluded.