Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, has said that the agency has activated two public health laboratories in Niger State bringing the total number of labs in the country to 69.
According to him, 17 private sector labs with the capacity to carry out COVID-19 tests are currently operational.
He said at the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja on that the development would bring the testing closer to the individuals and solve the proximity problem for many people.
He admonished the health workers to utilise the facilities to their full capacity and create more awareness on the importance of testing.
Ihekweazu said, “Yesterday (Wednesday), we finally activated the 69th public health lab; two Polymerase Chain Reaction labs in Niger state bringing it to 69 PCR labs, 22 gene-expert labs, 17 private-sector labs currently with the capacity to test for covid-19 in our country, starting from two labs in January.
“The number of labs themselves are not going to solve the problem, but they do solve the proximity problem for most people and bring testing opportunities closer to people.”
He announced the introduction of two new rapid diagnostic antigen-based rapid test kits that have been recently given emergency use licence by the World Health Organisation.
He said, “This two test kits are BD biosensor and Abbott; they do have the limitations, but they also do have their benefits in terms of a shorter turnaround time and opportunity for both culminations to quickly refer the patients for treatment when there is a positive case and for public health workers to initiate a public health response.”
The DG disclosed that the centre has completed the rollout of Summers, a digital key surveillance system, to every local government in the country.