NGF secures four more testing centres in states: Ibadan, Kaduna, Abakaliki, Maiduguri

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NGF secures four more testing centres in states: Ibadan,Kaduna, Abakaliki, Maiduguri

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By Codratus Godson

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) demands for aggressive testing scheme in countries, Nigeria may increase her testing centres to 10 from mere six. Now, the clamour for more testing centres may become a reality following the agreement between the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

For a start, Abakaliki (Ebonyi State), Ibadan in Oyo State, Kaduna in Kaduna State and Maiduguri in Borno State would soon have testing centres, according to the NGF chairman, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who spoke Thursday evening (April 2 2020) from isolation. He had tested negative and went into self-isolation.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had hinted that much at the Thursday briefing session of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 when he said plans were afoot to establish some more testing centres though he appealed to Nigerians not to press too much for more centres but better testing in existing six centres.

Speaking on Ibim Semenitari’s facebook interview series, Dr Fayemi agreed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises nation to more of testing, but admitted that the level in Nigeria was not enough.

He said: “We as governors do not believe that the level of testing going on at the moment is enough. There are only six testing centres so far in Nigeria. We have pushed the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and they have agreed to set up four more to be located in Abakaliki, Ibadan, Maiduguri, and Kaduna, bringing it to 10. They have agreed to also use the tuberculosis laboratory (TB) centres which are in every state. We still asked for more labs and they have also agreed to use some private labs that are of very high standards just to ramp it up.

“The truth is that they have tested only about 2000 persons so far. It took three days for me to get my own result (positive). Imagine the anxiety in those who had contact with me, while waiting.

“The need for more labs is not just because of COVID-19, but about other diseases and epidemics. Also, there are other aspects such as financial pandemics. Note that oil is not selling, etc. So, this is the time to forget oil, go to other areas such as agriculture, ICT, education, innovation, etc.”

On the need to massively procure ventilators, the governor said one costs about $15,000 (N5.7BN) yet, only one patient has so far needed it. “There are ventilators in the states, but lets take another look at it. Out of the 184 cases so far (by Thursday evening), only one sick person needed ventilator. The others got well before it came to ventilator issue. Ventilator is for extreme cases, the last point. They just needed to be stabilized, then, they recover. So, I suggest we have ventilator bank so that if anyone needs it, they take it there. If I get such amount, I will deliver one good primary healthcare centre in my state.”

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