Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that more testing sites will soon be accredited and deployed to quicken the pace of treatment for Covid-19 patients.
He said that the ministry was in the process of converting and reconfiguring the machines used for testing tuberculosis patients in various hospitals so that thry can be used for testing Covid-19 cases.
Speaking during a press conference by the Presidential Taskforce on containment of Coronavirus in Abuja on Monday, Ehanire said that the NCDC had added a new laboratory to its network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19.
He said: “We are also working hard to open-up as many testing sites as possible. With new additions to the case definition, persons with fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath in an area of medium or high prevalence of COVID-19, can test for the disease”.
The minister said that in order to meet the demand that will arise as a result of this expansion of the case definition, the NCDC has added a new laboratory to its network of molecular laboratories for COVID-19.
“This is the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Oyo State. We project that in three (3) weeks, seven (7) more labs in Abakiliki, Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Sokoto will be added to this network to further expand testing capacity nationwide.
“I urge the members of the public to note that testing is free and at no cost to the public. Anyone demanding to be paid or given a tip should be immediately reported to the appropriate authorities.
Importantly, there are no Rapid Diagnostic Tests available that have been WHO validated, because they often give unreliable results. Unless you have been tested in one of the six molecular laboratories for COVID-19 in Nigeria, your results are most likely useless. If you think you fit the case definition of a suspect case, please call the NCDC or your State hotline for immediate testing. This is the only way to ensure you get suitable treatment_” he said.
Ehanire also said that as the situation evolves, the ministry will focus on using limited resources on those persons, who actually need them most critically; from testing to treatment of confirmed cases.