Since then Medipark Diagnostics, which he runs with five other doctors who pooled $1 million to buy equipment, has become a linchpin of the country’s creaking, donor-supported health infrastructure.
Hospitals in the battle-scarred city that once had to wait weeks for blood test results now use the lab to test for conditions including HIV and hepatitis.
Until July, Medipark was the only private lab in the city testing for the virus, but since then its technicians have trained government health workers to conduct tests.
“We were needed … and we were appreciated,” he said.
Medipark has arranged import pipelines of reagents needed for tests, including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test used for COVID-19. It employs staff from Kenya, Lebanon and India to operate and maintain equipment imported from Europe, Asia and the United States.
More than 2 million people do not have enough food. Many live in crowded, unsanitary camps, creating fears COVID-19 could scythe through a vulnerable population.
So far, that hasn’t happened. The health ministry has recorded 4,229 infections and 107 deaths in the pandemic though, with large swathes of the country off limits due to the fighting, that is likely to be an undercount.
“I am glad to help my community and make a difference,” said Ali Muse, who practised in Rwanda and South Sudan before returning two years ago to help open the lab.