Indorama lab ranks high in Covid-19 testing – NCDC



  • Report says Indorama helped Rivers to 2nd position in testing
  • Lists challenges to testing in Nigeria

By Codratus Godson

Indorama Nigeria says it molecular lab in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has come third best in conducting the Covid-19 tests in Nigeria.

In a statement Monday evening by the head of corporate affairs unit of Indorama, Jossy Nkwocha (PhD), the petrochemicals company its lab also helped Rivers State to come second in testing.

The state said the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has thus highlighted the role of Indorama’s Molecular Laboratory, situated in Port Harcourt Rivers State, in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic (COVI-19) in Nigeria.

The company quoted NCDC’s latest report for Week 40 ending on Sunday 11th October 2020, which they said shows that Indorama Molecular Lab came 3rd among the 67 molecular laboratories in the country, and placed Rivers State in the 2nd position among states/FCT with the highest sample testing.

The statement went on: “Out of 23,305 COVID-19 tests carried out by 70 laboratories across the country in Week 40, Indorama Molecular Lab (IML) did 1,666, which helped to identify positive cases and managing them successfully. “A total of 23,305 tests were done in week 40 by 70 labs. NRL, Sahel labs and IML tested the most in week 40,” the report noted.

The report further noted: “A total of 23,305 samples were tested in week 40 by 36 states. Majority of the samples were from Lagos, Rivers and Katsina states, respectively.  Kebbi and Kogi tested the least in week 40.”

In recent times, Rivers State has came 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the daily positive cases table released by NCDC as a result of sustained sample testing across the state.

As at Monday, 12th October 2020, Rivers State has had 2,661 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,481 discharged and 59 deaths recorded, according to NCDC. The State has not recorded new death from the disease in recent weeks.

The health agency identified five major challenges militating against effective samples testing in Nigeria.

They include: “Samples from most of the states are not reaching the labs within 24 hours of sample collection; and there has been a reduction in the number of samples coming from the states in straight weeks (week 30-40).

Other challenges are: “The laboratory turn-around time still needs improvement; some labs do not submit their line-lists in a timely manner, and some do not submit at all ; Some labs have not sent their daily testing capacities to National”

The following recommendations were offered for improvement: “Labs should improve on their turn around time (TAT) and communicate their challenges which might be affecting their TAT to the appropriate quarters; and all States should have testing labs as this will reduce the time it takes for sample to reach the labs.”

The other recommendations are: “All testing labs should submit their line-list in a timely manner to National; and all labs to provide National with information on their daily testing capacities”.

Recall that on July 22nd this year, NCND announced that it had accredited the Indorama Molecular Lab with state-of the-art medical equipment, as a strategic partner in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

It was meant to ensure that over 7,000 workers in the expansive petrochemicals complex are tested regularly (every 10 days) and those found positive are managed properly to reduce spread of the disease and loss of lives.

Nkwocha said at that time, the Managing Director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited (IEPL), Manish Mundra, had thanked the Rivers State Ministry of Health and the NCDC for their guidance in actualizing the setting up of the molecular laboratory.