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Published On: Wed, Apr 1st, 2020

Covid-19: No single molecular laboratory in northern Nigeria

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Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC)

By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

As coronavirus gradually spread across the country, there is worry in the north, about lack of molecular laboratory to test samples.
Nigeria currently has six functional centres for the testing of Covid-19, the Federal Ministry of Health disclosed at the weekend.
In a statement, the Ministry revealed that the latest testing centre is located at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
“We now have 6 functional laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID19, latest at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
“We are working to expand testing capacity. The World Health Organsisation (WHO) has supported through the training of medical personnel,” the statement noted.
The other five locations are located at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, Lagos, Irua Teaching Hospital, Edo and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
By this statement issued by the ministry, there is an uneven distribution of the laboratories which does not reflect federal character. There is high concentration in the western part of the country, while the north has nothing to boast of.
This means that if there is an outbreak in the north, the peoples’ fate will be determined by God.
The north, which has 19 states, also contribute for the country’s highest population compared to other regions.
When contacted to explain the uneven distribution of the molecular laboratories across the country, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC, did not pick his call nor respond to text message forwarded to him.
Meanwhile, number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria is approaching stands at 135, as Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, confirmed four new cases yesterday.
The NCDC on its twitter handle yesterday said, four new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 3 in Osun and 1 in Ogun.
“As at 11:15 am 31st March there are 135 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria with 2 deaths”.
The NCDC in a tweet on its official handle, @NCDCgov, noted that, “Eight new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 2 in FCT, 4 in Oyo, 1 in Kaduna and 1 in Osun State.
So far, twelve states have confirmed cases.
They included; Lagos- 81, FCT- 25, Ogun- 4, Enugu- 2, Ekiti- 1 and Oyo- 8.
Others are; Edo- 2, Bauchi- 2, Osun-5
Rivers-1, Benue- 1 and Kaduna- 3.
Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday confirmed that he tested positive for coronavirus.
El-Rufai disclosed this in a video shared on the official Account of the Governor of Kaduna State, @GovKaduna.
He added that he is in self-isolation as required by the case management guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC for someone that is not showing symptoms.
Also, Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde tested positive on Monday.
As at yesterday, there was 823,200 officially confirmed cases across the world, with 40,633 deaths and 174,333
recovered cases.
Currently, two-thirds of the deaths from coronavirus are recorded in Europe. More than 608,234 declared cases have been registered in 183 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.
As at yesterday, there were four confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. The number of death from the virus is still 2.

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