The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the molecular diagnostic laboratories for the testing of coronavirus in four northern states of Maiduguri, Jos, Kano and Kaduna will be set for operation at the end of this week.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of the NCDC disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during the sixth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on coronavirus.
Ihekweazu in his statement;
“We are working to activate two labs in Kano and Kaduna at the same time from tomorrow (Tuesday), and two labs in Jos and Maiduguri from Thursday.
By the end of this week, we will have four new laboratories in Kano, Kaduna, Jos and Maiduguri fully active.
We are solely assessing every state in the country, but we are starting with states that we already know have a baseline capacity to build on.
“The five key targets we are setting for our teams in Abuja and Lagos are to make sure that the collection of samples from symptomatic individuals happens within eight hours of notification of the state team.
“Secondly, that the turnaround time for testing and resulting will be less than 24 hours.
This is the case because sometimes samples come in late in the evening and have to result in the next day.
The third is we plan to test 200 samples today in Lagos and 100 samples today in Abuja by the end of this week.
The Director-General added that the number four it to isolate patients in less than six hours after they have received a positive result at the state level and the agency is planning to isolate every confirmed case.
Therefore, we will measure ourselves with percentage on each of indicator mentioned and use it to improve the effectiveness of the response.
Ihekweazu explain further that;
“In addition to case finding, the second most important thing is contact tracing, that is, listing all the contacts and making sure we find all of them.
There used to be a lot more when the flights were still coming in but now each case would have about 30 to 40 contacts to follow up.”
About 30% of the total cases were contracted through contact tracing and that to make this possible, the centre was using an electronic platform to locate all the cases, “understand who is linked, which contact is linked to what case, and through that, they can monitor which contact is developing symptoms and then continue the chain of transmission from there.”
As at present, Nigeria has nine molecular diagnostic laboratories to test coronavirus which all are the NCDC National referral laboratory, Abuja; the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos; the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Irrua Specialist Hospital, Edo state.
Others are the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of infectious diseases, Osun state; University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo state; the Virology Laboratory of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State; the Bio-Security Centre, Lagos State and Defence Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said there were additional treatment centres in Utako and Mabushi in Abuja that would give a minimum of 400 beds.
Meanwhile, He said the centres were currently under renovation.