Contrary to the claims credited to Cross River Commissioner for Health and Information that COVID-19 positive samples are transported from a state to another, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has set the record straight.
NCDC, in a statement issued via Twitter on Saturday, described such claim as “a misrepresentation of the federal ministry of health’s COVID-19 testing strategy and efforts to protect the health of Nigerians from this disease.”
It said, “We would like to state unequivocally that there is no plan to transport positive samples from one state to another.”
It explained that the agency is leading the expansion of testing capacity for COVID-19 in the country and that as part of the national strategy to scale up COVID-19 testing, it is leveraging GeneXpert equipment currently used for the diagnosis of tuberculosis.
“The use of GeneXpert will significantly scale-up testing for COVID-19 and improve turn-around time for results in the country. Nigeria is one of many countries around the world using the GeneXpert system to scale up testing capacity.
“This expansion process is in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), and supported by partners at US-CDC, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and others. There are 400 sites in Nigeria with GeneXpert equipment for the diagnosis of tuberculosis,” it added.
Clarification of COVID-19 Testing Expansion in Nigeria in light of Comments by Officials of Cross River State
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) June 20, 2020
According to NCDC, it has prioritised the roll-out of GeneXpert in states where there is a high level of community transmission and states with limited or no laboratory capacity for the diagnosis of COVID-19 at the moment.
The states are Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Benue, and the FCT. “We have worked with NTBLCP and our partners to activate two GeneXpert laboratories in Kaduna and Nasarawa States. We plan to roll out the GeneXpert testing sites for COVID-19 in every state in Nigeria.
“We remain strongly committed to our mandate to protect the health of Nigerians. We urge the public to remain aware of the risks of COVID-19 and to adhere to the preventive measures advised by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health,” NCDC added.