COVID-19 Testing: 21 Laboratories Available For 200 Million Nigerians, Says Health Minister
The Minister of Health, Dr. Esagie Ehanire, has revealed that 21 testing laboratories are now operational nationwide as the health ministry works to drive up demand.
“The laboratories in Kano were directed to work in shifts to reduce the turnaround time for testing, just as the Ministry of Health’s Task Team to Kano is collaborating intimately and fully engaged in remediation activities.
“Strongly emphasizing training and capacity building for all personnel, in order to help rebuild manpower in State and Federal health facilities,” Dr. Ehanire disclosed this on 7 May 2020 at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing.
The health ministry’s task team, the minister disclosed, includes non-medical personnel such as cleaners, porters and security guards, especially in the COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres.
He said, “The intensive training is essential to minimize the risk of infection of personnel in the line of duty, which is becoming a major challenge in various parts of Nigeria. We do not have the latitude of having so many essential health workers in treatment or isolation, and being out of service in these critical times.”
The minister also disclosed that he led the ministry’s team to a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, at which their agencies demonstrated impressive innovative capabilities to participate in finding solutions to our problems of shortages.
Saying, “We are convinced that Nigeria has the potential to manufacture many of the commodities we presently import, which present global demand also make difficult to come by.”
Ehanire also reported the arrival of the first batch of Nigerian nationals, who were successfully repatriated to Lagos from Dubai.
He said that they have entered into the mandatory supervised 14-day quarantine, in 2 designated hotels, in line with laid down protocols.
He stated, “They will be tested for COVID-19 and any person testing positive shall be invited to a treatment facility.”
He added, “As testing is scaled up and more persons with COVID-19 infection are identified, it is necessary that they are safely and securely isolated and treated with dignity until they test negative, to break our chain of transmission.”
Ehanire also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health’s team had left for Kogi State to ensure that the state has the adequate testing capacity and also to advocate for the engagement of traditional rulers and community leaders in surveillance efforts of the State.