-As NIMR Becomes a Testing Centre for the Infection
With confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus multiplying by the day in the country, there is the clamour to extend testing of suspected cases to private diagnostic centres, as the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research was recently accredited as a testing centre for the viral infection, in addition to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
Concerned citizens had taken to their social media handles to plead with the government to create more testing centres with private facilities, to ease the prolonged response and restrictions from the NCDC.
Reacting to the development, the NIMR DG, Prof.Babatunde Salako in a chat with Pharmanewsonline disclosed that they are working on bringing private facilities on board for diagnosis of the disease, but it will cost a total of N30000 for an individual to pay.
Salako, who noted that the test is free at NIMR, however cautioned that they can only attend to 25 patients a day, and that is strictly by invitation.
He said just as patients pay for their diagnoses at the laboratories, “the estimated cost of conducting a COVID-19 test for a patient is N30,000 in a private facility.
“More centres can and should easily be put in place in each state capital by governors of each state with the support of NCDC.
“We are already designated as a testing centre for COVID-19 by NCDC, but we could do better if we have adequate supply of diagnostic kits”, he stated
The Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan had earlier urged the federal government to create more testing centres for citizens to easily know their status of the disease.
Lawan, who tweeted via his verified Twitter handle said: “I believe that the federal government has done well, so far, but I think there is need for them to do a little more, and that is in the area of testing centres”.
Adetutu Balogun also lamented the trauma experienced by Nigerians trying to access the testing service of the NCDC to no avail.
She tweeted :”Waste of time… people are calling toll free numbers without any success, you are here doing actress is talking. Open more testing centres, add more lines, add more handlers. Stop this nonsense you are doing”.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach the President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMSLN), Dr Bassey E. Bassey, proved abortive, as his contacts couldn’t be reached at the time of filing the story.