The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, says with the inauguration of two public health laboratories in Niger State, the country now has 69 laboratories.
According to him, 17 private sector labs with the capacity to carry out COVID-19 tests are currently operational.
Ihekweazue said at the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja that more labs would bring the testing closer to the people.
He urged health workers to utilise the facilities and help create more awareness on Coronavirus testing.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we finally activated the 69th public health lab; two Polymerase Chain Reaction labs in Niger state bringing it to 69 PCR labs, 22 gene-expert labs, 17 private-sector labs currently with the capacity to test for covid-19 in our country, starting from two labs in January.
“The number of labs themselves are not going to solve the problem, but they do solve the proximity problem for most people and bring testing opportunities closer to people,” he said.
He announced the introduction of two new rapid diagnostic antigen-based rapid test kits that has been recently given emergency use licence by the World Health Organisation.
“This two test kits are BD biosensor and Abbott; they do have the limitations, but they also do have their benefits in terms of a shorter turnaround time and opportunity for both culminations to quickly refer the patients for treatment when there is a positive case and for public health workers to initiate a public health response.”
Ihekweazu disclosed that the centre had completed the rollout of Summers, a digital key surveillance system, to every local government in the country.