A medical laboratory scientist, Mr Kehinde Adegoke, has urged the Federal Government to explore the use of rapid test kits to increase COVID-19 tests in Nigeria.
Adegoke, a former Chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Lagos State Branch, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
He said that there was need to enhance testing of COVID-19, due to cases of local transmission and asymptomatic cases reported in some states.
According to him, Federal Government should verify the rapid testing kits brought in by the Chinese medical team through the Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria in Lagos and Abuja.
“If they are certified okay, they should spread it around laboratories in the country; this will help us to catch up with the backlog of people that are yet to be tested.
“The testing kits should be used to test not only people that are showing symptoms, but also those not showing symptoms, because they might be many in the society.
“These people are going around, especially to markets to buy food items during the period allocated.
“We mingle freely among each other and think that we are safe because those around us are not showing symptoms of the virus.
“But, the fact is that some of these people might be virus carriers and are unknowingly spreading it around the community,” Adegoke said.
He urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to accredit some medical laboratories around the country, to enable them to use the testing kits to conduct massive COVID-19 test.
“Those that are positive among those tested should be escalated to molecular laboratories for confirmation.
“This is the practice in countries like U.S, China, among others; with the test, they were able to detect a lot of asymptomatic cases, isolate and manage them promptly,” he said.
Adegoke said that to guard against future occurrence, routine laboratories should be empowered with molecular equipment and training to equip capacity of the medical scientists to conduct diagnosis at molecular level for different diseases.
He urged government not to relax its directive on restriction of movement, warning that the situation might escalate and worsen the country’s ability to control the spread of the virus.
Adegoke also advised the public to continue to maintain social distancing, practice handwashing and good respiratory hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (NAN)