The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday said that 250,000 Nigerians have so far been tested from the available 59 laboratories dedicated for COVID-19 tests.
This was disclosed by the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu at the Thursday briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
According to him, there are now 59 laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19 across 29 states and the FCT, with two rapid diagnostic near validation.
Ihekweazu also revealed that the Centre is working hard to ensure that testing capacity is available in remaining states across the country that are yet to be served, adding that NCDC teams have been deployed to Zamfara, Kebbi, Gombe, and Taraba states.
“In a bid to scale up national testing, we are leveraging on existing laboratories and converting them to test for COVID-19.
“There are labs that existed for HIV testing, GeneXperts,” Ihekweazu said.
He further disclosed that there are 45 laboratories that can carry out real-time PTR testing across the country, while four mega PCR labs have been activated, including two national reference lab and the defence reference lab in Abuja, one lab at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching hospital and another in Lagos.
He said that seven private laboratories have been activated in Lagos, while two are almost ready in Abuja, while 13 GeneXperts have been activated in 10 states, out of the 400 available in the country.
Speaking on the deployment of rapid diagnostic test kits, the NCDC DG said the centre has been working with the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria to validate a number of kits.
He said: “There are two that are showing good promise, the validation process is ongoing and in the next couple of weeks, we should be able to know if they are able to be included.”
On FG’s target to test two million people by the end of July, Ihekweazu said the testing in itself is not the goal, but bringing people into care through testing and enable contact tracing to happen for those who are positive and generally move the system along.
According to him, between 3000 and 4000 tests are being carried out on a daily basis in the country.
Commenting of complaints by Nigerians that test results are being delayed, Ihekweazu said that an online platform is underway, where patients can access their results with a code to download their results once they get a message notification.
“That platform is almost ready, we will be piloting it in Abuja first, once it demonstrates utility, we will scale it up across the country”, he said.
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