… as NCDC Adds Private Labs to Scale Up Tests
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (@ncdc) has diversified its testing capacity by identifying and certifying private laboratories to join its National Covid-19 Laboratory Network.
An Imo State private laboratory, Everight Diagnostic Laboratory Services, has become the first private lab beneficiary and will boost testing capacity for the South East which had hitherto relied on a lone federal laboratory located in Ebonyi State.
NCDC says it now has 24 laboratories nationwide for Covid-19 testing, although its distribution remains skewed as they cover only 15 of Nigeria’s 36 States.
There are seven laboratories currently located in South West, including Lagos (4), Ogun (1), Oyo (1), and Osun (1) while the South-South has five laboratories in Edo (2), Delta (1), and Rivers (2).
The North Central has three laboratories in the FCT (2) and Plateau (1), while the entire and vast North East has only a lone laboratory in Maiduguri.
The North West Region has six laboratories located in Kaduna (2), Kano (3) and Sokoto (1) while the South East had one (1) in Ebonyi before the designation of the Imo State private lab in Owerri, the State Capital.
Although a new state-government laboratory is being developed for Anambra, it has remained a puzzle why a medical Centre of Excellence like the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu is not being considered for this Hitech laboratory.
The University of Nigeria is the second (and first indigenous) university in Nigeria that is designated as a Centre of Excellence in medicine and surgery.
The broadening of participation in testing to include the private sector gives Nigeria an opportunity to scale up its testing to attain a position where it can effectively determine the rate of spread of the Coronavirus in the country.
As at Monday 11 May 2020, Nigeria has been able to test only 48,418persons since it began in March 2020, translating to one test per 7,000 persons in the population.