Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has reacted to the Akwa Ibom State Government‘s rejection of the test results of the five coronavirus cases announced on Wednesday.
Director-General NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 that the rejection of the results was unfortunate.
The state had blamed irregularities in the testing process for its position and, therefore, called on the centre to conduct another round of tests forthwith.
Ihekweazu, while assuring that tests would be done at the appropriate time, said though they had been some delay in reporting the results, there was no reason to doubt the authenticity of the result.
He said: “I just read a text from the Commissioner for Health in Akwa Ibom State. I think it’s a little bit unfortunate; there was some delay in reporting the results to him because the team that lead the lab where the tests were done were actually on their way to Abuja to carry out an important national assignment.
“The tests and I will say it publicly were done in the Irruah Specialist Teaching Hospital. This is our oldest, and most experienced lab in carrying out PCI-diagnosis. So there’s really no reason to dispute the validity of this result.
“We must focus on the challenge at our hand; every new case in a new state always leaves a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept that these results are what they are. But they are what they are, I have no reason to doubt the result coming out of any of our labs and especially the Irruah Specialist Hospital.”
Regarding whether the tests will be repeated as requested by the state government, the DG NCDC said: “Yes, they were tested at a specific time; after every positive case, we would retest anyway, after three-four days because the only way you can know whether people are recovering or not is by retesting them, so that would be done.
“Like I have said over and over and like the chair of the PTF has said, this is not a time to dispute and doubt most especially within government; it is a time to come together, it is not a time to release press statements against other government bodies; it is time to come together.
“So, this is really to appeal to every state, there is no reason why anybody will give results without verifying. We are working very hard to make sure these results are correct; sometimes, we delay in releasing these results and we get a lot of flak why are the test results taking so long; it is because the test is being repeated so that we can be very sure, but if there’s one lab in Nigeria that I can almost be 100 percent sure on the validity of their test, it is Irruah.
“Of course, there will always be mistakes, but to have mistakes in five results in a lab like Irruah will be very unlikely. I call on everyone to have confidence in the work we are doing.”