Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has asked Nigerians to disregard statement from some “faceless” individuals claiming that they were ignored by NCDC officials when they sought to be tested for Coronavirus, having, perhaps, been exposed to some people that tested positive to the virus.
Few years ago, some persons whose identity are not yet known claimed they wanted to be sure of their status as regards Coronavirus before going into self isolation, because they have been exposed to certain people who tested positive.
They claimed in a statement circulated on social media that they first called NCDC toll free line and didn’t get the expected result. They proceeded to University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada, and they were informed that tests for Coronavirus are not done there but an isolation centre.
They further claimed: “People at UATH referred us to NCDC office at Jabi. When we got there, we were informed that tests are not done there but at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Gaduwa, Abuja, and we proceeded there.
“On getting to NRL, the security at the gate informed us that lots of people, apparently ignorant, came earlier in the day and were turned back because testing for individuals are not done there, rather samples are brought in by accredited state officials for test.”
A statement that was said to have emanated from Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, in response to the complaints reads thus “Discountenance! It’s mischief clothed in ignorance. Yes, NCDC expectedly has some challenges in terms of capacity to cope with the number of incoming calls. However, the lines are being expanded to accommodate more calls.
“People should not just go to NCDC and expect to be tested for COVID-19. Samples are usually taken from those that fit into case definition and coming from Covid-19 high burden countries. Such people are usually referred and the samples are taken from designated points.
“Besides, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing machines are limited to five centres presently in the country, even though efforts are being made to set up in various parts of the country. In addition to that, the reagents that are used to run the test are also limited. So, people need to understand all these limitations.”