By Adedayo Akinwale
The United Kingdom has said that it has procured new Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine worth £661,000 for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to speed up its testing capacity.
It said that the PCR machine was procured using some UKAid funding committed to the Nigeria branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) by the British Government, to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The UK mission in Abuja, in a statement issued on Monday, said the PCR machine, which is the most accurate laboratory method for detecting, tracking and studying coronavirus, would enhance the NCDC’s Covid-19 testing capabilities in Nigeria, while also increasing the nation’s capacity to carry out at least 3,000 tests per day.
The UK government revealed that the machine was presented to the NCDC Director General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the Immunisation Team Lead and current Officer-in-Charge of WHO Nigeria, Dr. Fiona Braka, at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL), a campus of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Lagos on Sunday.
The statement quoted the British High Commissioner representative at the event, Karl Holmes, to have said that: “On Sunday, 21 June, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) unveiled a brand new Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine, which has been procured using some of the £661,000 UKAid funding commitment that the British Government has made to the Nigeria branch of the World Health Organisation this year.
“The procurement of this new PCR machine complements the UK Government’s ongoing financial and technical support to Nigeria for the provision of diagnostic reagents and consumables, Biosafety training and certifications through our International Health Regulations (lHR) Strengthening Project led by Public Health England.
“We hope this machine and other support will contribute to the wider efforts to strengthen testing in Nigeria. These efforts have been steadily expanding over the last few weeks and we welcome this progress. The UK remains committed to continuing our support to this and other pillars of the response.”
The UK government said it has been working closely with authorities across Nigeria, including the NCDC, to support preparedness, planning and wider public health response efforts to contain the spread of the virus in Nigeria.