NCDC begins on-site testing



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NCDC begins on-site testing

From Moses Emorinken, Abuja



The Federal Government 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.

 Nigeria tests 6,000 COVID-19 samples daily, says NCDC

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.

“The onus lies not only with the Ministry of Health, but is a shared responsibility with the populace. Our safest, easiest and cheapest option of achieving a balance remains adherence to non-pharmaceutical measures as we have preached so many times. With these measures, we can balance or uphold our indices.”NCDC’s Head of Disease Surveillance Elsie Ilori, who represented the Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “We have categorised states according to the level of positive samples compared to the number of samples collected. We categorised them into four and we are working with them because most challenges are state-specific. It is not one shoe fits all.

“Our teams are in at least 29 states and working with them to implement their plans to increase sample collection, which includes ensuring sample collection takes place in all the local government areas. Our goal is to have less positive cases and more samples collected.

“Businesses are unique in position to encourage a behavioural change among our population towards stopping the spread of COVID-19. As businesses try to navigate the financial and operational challenges of the pandemic, we have the COVID-19 guideline for businesses and employers in Nigeria. It can be assessed on our website – covid19.ncdc.gov.ng.

“The guideline reflects the sector-specific recommendations and practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, as well as give some confidence to employers in ensuring that health and safety of the employees and customers is assured.”

NCDC begins on-site testing

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