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Coronavirus Pandemic: NCDC Set To Complete Testing Centres In Four States


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said that by the end of this week, there will be four new molecular diagnostic laboratories for testing Coronavirus in Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Maiduguri. 

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the sixth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19. 

He said:
 “We are working to activate two labs in Kano and Kaduna at the same time from tomorrow (Tuesday), and two labs in Jos and Maiduguri from Thursday. By the end of this week, we will have four new laboratories in Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Maiduguri fully active. 

"We are solely assessing every state in the country, but we are starting with states that we already know have a baseline capacity to build on".

 “The five key targets we are setting for our teams in Abuja and Lagos are to make sure that the collection of samples from symptomatic individuals happens within eight hours of notification of the state team. 

 “Secondly, that the turnaround time for testing and resulting will be less than 24 hours. This is the case because sometimes samples come in late in the evening and have to be resulted the next day". 

"The third is we plan to test 200 samples today in Lagos and 100 samples today in Abuja by the end of this week".

 “Number four is to isolate patients in less than six hours after they have received a positive result at the state level and we plan to isolate every confirmed case. So, we will measure ourselves with percentages on each of these indicators and use that to improve the effectiveness of the response".

 “In addition to case finding, the second most important thing is contact tracing, that is, listing all the contacts and making sure we find all of them. There used to be a lot more when the flights were still coming in but now each case would have about 30 to 40 contacts to follow up.” 

He said about 30 percent of all the cases had been found through contact tracing and that to make this possible the centre was using an electronic platform to track all the cases, “understand who is linked, which contact is linked to what case, and through that they can monitor which contacts are developing symptoms and then continue the chain of transmission from there.” 

It should be noted that, Nigeria currently has nine molecular diagnostic laboratories to test for COVID-19 which are the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja; the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Lagos; the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State.

Others are the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State; the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State; the Virology Laboratory of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State; the Bio-Security Centre, Lagos State and Defence Reference Laboratory, Abuja. 

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