The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has concluded plans with Mobihealth International, an innovative telemedicine and digital healthcare platform, to launch the country’s first home teleconsultation guided do-it-yourself (DIY) COVID-19 swab sample collection for Nigerians who want to confirm their COVID-19 status.
NIMR, whose mandate stipulates that it shall conduct research into human health problems in the country, notes that the research and development (R&D) initiative is aimed at facilitating the fight against the corona virus disease in the country by taking the containment efforts right to individuals in the comfort of their homes.
According to Prof. Babatunde Lawal Salako, Director-General of NIMR, “This do-it-yourself initiative which addresses the clamour of Nigerians for wider testing for COVID-19 has many advantages, including speeding up sample collection and testing, reducing the spread of infection especially among health workers, save time and reduce the stress on health institutions, save cost and reduce stigmatisations that hospital testing may bring about, among others.”
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mobihealth International, Dr. Funmi Adewara, informed that the company runs a similar initiative in the UK where people, who are unable to access the COVID-19 testing through the National Health Service (NHS) platform of the government, enlist on the Mobihealth platform for the test.
She explained how the initiative works: “Interested Nigerians who desire to know their COVID-19 statuses only need to download the Mobihealth App from their respective device play stores, register and enter the discount code to book teleconsultation with a doctor within minutes. An online video guide on how to swab will be sent to the candidate. Also, a test kit will be dispatched to the candidate’s address by a trained courier and the ID is confirmed to match the test kit.”
She further disclosed that the candidate, on receipt of the kit, would follow a live video guide to conduct the swab and validate the right person is taking the swab test, seal the bag and return it to a trained Courier, who will be waiting outside. The exercise normally takes 10 minutes but extended to 15 minutes for this pilot. The trained Courier delivers specimen to the NIMR laboratory and the results would be made known to the client by email in 24-48 hours of arrival of the sample at the NIMR laboratory.
“If the candidate tests positive to the corona virus disease, NIMR or Mobihealth International will escalate for appropriate care and attention” Adewara concluded.
She called on Nigerians to take advantage of this initiative for a better management of their healthcare in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.