The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu on Friday disclosed that the center will start mass testing of coronavirus(COVID-19) in the country between May and September.
National Sportsink learned that the center made this known in its report detailing how it plans to scale up laboratory tests for COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Chikwe Ihekweazu said that Nigeria will not be needing to conduct any mass testing, but in a report telling how the NCDC will ramp up plans to create more lab tests for coronavirus in the country, it stated that a mass test will be initiated come May.
The health agency said that mass testing would work “to survey the population, to learn more about this virus and contribute to research and development.”
“The Federal Ministry of Health has prioritized testing as one of the key interventions to the COVID-19 response in Nigeria.
“As global shortages of diagnostic kits and laboratory consumables increasingly impact the optimal functionality of the laboratory system in Nigeria and across the world, an adaptive testing strategy will be adopted to ensure the most vulnerable persons, those at elevated risk, and those with super spreading potential have access to testing.
“From April 2020, NCDC will work with existing laboratories to ensure that everyone who meets the case definition gets tested.
“In the next one month, NCDC will expand testing capacity to six more molecular laboratories in the country, resulting in a total of 14 laboratories. Between May and September 2020; we will roll out mass testing to survey
the population, to learn more about this virus and contribute to research and development.”
It added that it will collaborate with patrons in the private sector to scale the country’s testing capacity, stating that it would make use of existing HIV and tuberculosis labs to test for coronavirus.
“In order to contain the outbreak, the Government of Nigeria plans to rapidly scale diagnostic testing to cover all 36 States plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Testing strategy will be adapted based on phases of the epidemic, as defined by WHO.”
“Diagnostic testing is an essential response strategy to interrupt the transmission for the COVID-19 pandemic by informing patient management and identifying positive cases, which can then be isolated,” it said.
“In May 2020, we will begin testing for COVID-19 in existing HIV/TB laboratories (which will also enable routine and systematic testing of health workers).
“The success of this strategy is dependent on the ability to leverage existing molecular diagnostics resources in the country to support the COVID-19 response.”
While Ghana has a population of 29.7 million, Nigeria’s figure has been estimated at 200 million. There are currently 614 COVID-19 cases in Ghana.