The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said it has extended its molecular laboratories equipped with the capacity to detect the pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) to six other states.
The claim was made by, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director general of NCDC on Saturday in Abuja while giving an update on the COVID-19 to Nigerians.
NAN reports that earlier Nigeria had only five molecular laboratories with the capacity to detect the COVID-19 in the country.
According to the NCDC, the facilities are located at National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Redeemers University Nigeria, Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos.
Ihekweazu further explained that this capacity has now been expanded to include the virology Laboratory of the University College Hospital Ibadan.
In his statement; “Currently, samples from cases that meet the case definition are collected by the State Epidemiology Team and transported through a defined process funded by NCDC, from the state to one of the testing laboratories.
“The inclusion of one more laboratory will increase the capacity to detect cases in the country,”
Meanwhile, he noted that the establishment of such laboratories was based on the available resources.
He added that the NCDC Team will be in Abakiliki, Ebonyi state to set up COVID-19 testing capacity, in the existing molecular laboratory.
The DG NCDC revealed that each of the said laboratory cost about N150 million to set it up and equip and also millions of Naira to maintain it.
Ihekweazu said the NCDC was keeping tab of new technologies available and verified globally to support and scale up its testing capacity.
Each laboratory would continue to provide support for a defined number of states he expressed.
He noted the laboratories will provide critical support in reducing the turnaround time between identifying a suspected case and conformation.
“Our strategy is to find cases quickly, isolate, follow up with contacts and treat these cases. We are working very hard to flatten the curve in Nigeria,” he added.