The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said that setting up a molecular laboratory for COVID-19 test is not needed in every state in Nigeria.
According to the media aide to the Director-General of NCDC, it is more important for states to have effective sample collection capacity than aiming to get testing laboratories that take really long time to build.
The media aide to the NCDC Director General, Emeka Oguanuo, disclosed this during an interview with The PUNCH, when he was addressing the non-existence of COVID-19 labs in border states including Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Yobe, Jigawa and Adamawa.
“Inasmuch as we are trying to increase our testing capacity, the idea is not that, at the moment, every state must have a testing lab for coronavirus in the interim.
“Rather, it’s a longer-term strategy for every state to have diagnostic capacity for these infectious diseases. These are not things you build overnight.
“It was because some states already had a laboratory diagnostic infrastructure that the labs you see were easily repurposed for coronavirus testing. If those labs were not in existence, we would be talking about starting from scratch.”
“If, for instance, Gombe, Zamfara and Katsina, have labs that can do polymerase chain reaction testing already, and they, to a large extent, have standard operating procedures that guide their work, it would make it easier for the NCDC to just provide them with reagents and guidelines, and train their staff.
“Even if the state does tests, we have a very effective transportation mechanism for sending samples to the nearest labs and that is what all the states that do not have labs are doing.
“About two months ago, when we recorded our first case, we just had one lab that could diagnose. Now, we have 18. So, it’s a remarkable progress.”