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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has debunked the claim that it shipped positive and negative test kits and cartridges of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to Cross River State.
The state’s Commissioners for Information and Health, Asu Okang and Beta Edu had during the week accused the agency and the Federal Ministry of Health of sending positive samples to the state.
Dismissing the claim in a statement on Saturday, June 20, 2020, the NCDC said, the claim by the Cross River government officials is a “misinterpretation of the Federal Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 testing strategy and efforts to protect the health of Nigerians from this disease.”
“We would like to state unequivocally, that there is no plan to transport positive samples from one state to the other.
“One of our responsibilities at NCDC is to scale-up the capacity for COVID-19 diagnosis in Nigeria as we respond to this pandemic. Our ability to promptly detect cases and halt the spread of the virus in our communities, is largely dependent on our ability to scale-up access to testing for Nigerians”, the agency said.
The NCDC further said it has a responsibility to protect the health of all Nigerians, adding that since the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been expanding the testing capacity as part of the national strategy to scale up COVID-19 testing in the country.
The statement reads, “We are 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.about:blank
“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. However, we have 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. These are Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Benue, and the FCT. Already, we have worked with NTBLCP and our partners to activate two GeneXpert laboratories in Kaduna and Nasarawa States. Eventually, we plan to roll out the GeneXpert testing sites for COVID-19 in every state in Nigeria”.
The NCDC, however, assured Nigerians of its commitment to protect Nigerians and also urged the public to remain aware of the risks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the NCDC said
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