Ihekweazu

Adebayo Obajemu

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday said testing for COVID-19 will now be done on-site by leveraging the Gene Expert machines instead of relying on PCR molecular lab procedures which takes longer time for diagnosis.

The Gene Expert machines have been deployed in the National Hospital, Abuja; University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada. New state molecular laboratories are also being optimised in Kebbi and Bayelsa states, it was learnt.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), however, said more still needs to be done in sample collection by states to determine the positivity rate in each state.

According to the situation report published by the NCDC on August 25, Lagos, FCT, Kano, Plateau and Oyo states have collected the largest COVID-19 samples – 95,843; 46,413; 42,744; 23,113; and 19,562.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, said: “We are continuing with plans to reduce case fatality rate to less than one per cent, by optimising response activities and cooperation with states according to their challenges.

“A new state molecular laboratory is currently being optimised in Kebbi and Bayelsa states, while a Gene Expert machine has been set up at the National Hospital, Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, as was announced some weeks ago.

“This means that suspected COVID-19 emergencies can now be diagnosed on site, which will reduce turn around and waiting time, and allow better utilisation of observation rooms.

“This is a major advancement in handling distress experienced by patients arriving as emergencies in these hospitals. The UATH has also found access to supplementary medical oxygen supply, courtesy of the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), which has a good oxygen plant in Yola.

“ With the imperative to reopen our economy, relax local and international air travel to support restoration of livelihoods, the experience in other countries is that COVID-19 infection rates have gone up, in some cases, dramatically. We must strive therefore not to lose our attention to preserving lives or lose the gains we have made over the months