From Magnus Eze, Enugu
A United Kingdom-based scientist and proprietor of a Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) accredited Coronavirus testing laboratory, Dr. Emmanuel Nna, weekend, disclosed that his outfit; Safety Molecular Pathology Laboratory, was responsible for reduction in the charge for testing of COVID-19 samples in Nigeria.
The scientist also said that it was a tug of war between him and some persons in Government who wanted him to charge prohibitive rates for the services.
Test for COVID-19 was made compulsory for travelers outside Nigeria since the outbreak of the pandemic, last year, bringing about upsurge in tests for Coronavirus in the country.
The Managing Director of Safety Laboratories said that but for the intervention of his outfit, Nigerians would have been paying through their nose to get tested for Coronavirus.
Speaking on the heels of last week’s inspection by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) in Enugu, where some labs were purportedly sealed; Nna further disclosed that he turned down the request by some officials of the ministry of health to increase the price for COVID-19 test because he did not support the exploitation of Nigerians.
Nna added that his laboratory has so far screened over 30,000 samples for Coronavirus investigations, even as he noted that the N50,000 charged by many other molecular labs in Nigeria was still very exorbitant.
“We are the only molecular laboratory in Enugu State and we don’t engage in racketeering with doctors, we don’t pay commissions like others prefer to engage in, we don’t engage quacks and we don’t collect bribes.
“Our laboratories are our own contribution to the development of Nigeria’s health sector; there are no quacks in our laboratories because everybody is licensed for the practice,” Nna stated.
He also said that the NCDC had commended the outfit for its affordable and globally acclaimed services.
“What we did with COVID-19, we had done it with leukemia patients. Even though I had the monopoly of testing leukemia patients, I kept their price at N20,000 for over 10 years despite changes in exchange rate. For ten years, all leukemia patients in Nigeria were tested for the same N20,000.
“When COVID-19 came in, the Ministry of Health in Enugu said make the price to be N39,500, I said no. I am telling you something you can verify. Our price is N25000. NCDC wrote me and thanked me for that because it is fair,” Nna said.