KEBS calls for use of calibrated and certified Infrared thermometers to contain COVID-19 spread

KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.
KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini. PHOTO/COURTESY

Manufacturers, traders, and users of the infrared thermometers should ensure they are calibrated and certified to help in the early detection of coronavirus infection, says the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

The infrared thermometers (thermal guns) are considered key to the early detection of COVID-19. Calibration ensures their functionality, accuracy, and reliability are ascertained.

“We must ensure the equipment used to screen patients for COVID-19 and other conditions are calibrated. Calibration will establish their overall functionality, accuracy and reliability, as well as minimize the uncertainty of the measurements. Failure to calibrate measurement of medical equipment could lead to false results and misdiagnosis,” Lt. Col (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director at KEBS said in a statement.

Mr. Njiraini says the need for fast and accurate testing is imperative given the long incubation period and the contagious nature of COVID-19.

“We urge the country’s manufacturers, traders, and users of these medical equipment to ensure that they are calibrated to the accepted International System of Units (SI) at the KEBS laboratories or accredited calibration laboratories,” Mr. Njiriani added.

Contact and non-contact thermometers (infrared guns and ambient temperature monitors), respiratory ventilators, refrigerators and freezers for storage of reagents, medicines and samples, are some of the critical healthcare equipment calibrated by KEBS.  Others include high-temperature sterilizers, furnaces and incinerators.

During calibration of infrared thermometers, KEBS checks whether they are measuring correctly, and verifies their reliability in performing the intended functions. These functions include body temperature measurement and to ensure that any errors in measurement are within allowable limits. Upon calibration, a certificate is issued, with the appropriate corrections applicable for the measurement range.

KEBS has the applicable standards which guide on the testing and calibration of the health equipment to ensure their basic safety, reliability, and effectiveness.

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