COVID-19: Our Challenge Isn’t Lab Testing Capacity But Getting The Right Samples In – NCDC DG

The Director-General of the Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said that the major limiting factor in the agency’s fight against the COVID-19 is the ability to efficiently get the right samples into the labs for testing.

According to him, the challenge is no longer the laboratory testing capacity because all the resources have been put in place by the government.

“The challenge right now is not the laboratory testing capacity. It is how active our public health workforce is in collecting samples, identifying suspect cases, sending them into the lab for testing,” the NCDC DG said during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday.

“It’s no longer about capacity. There are a lot of vehicles. It’s about how to make the entire chain work better.

“Both the federal and state government have done everything possible to release the resources required for the response.

“Our challenge now is how to connect the dots and make the response more efficient”.

Earlier in his address, Ihekweazu noted that when the COVID-19 broke out in China a few months ago, the country immediately started building its own laboratory capacity.

“In under four months, we’ve now activated a total of 12 labs across the country to bring testing closer to the people and to make sure that we have at least one lab in every zone and we’ll keep pushing until we get one in every state,” he said.

According to the NCDC boss, the focus for the government in the next two weeks is to replicate the overall efforts made in Lagos State, in other states of the country.

“In addition to the work in Lagos, we have to replicate the same thing across the entire country.

“Focus on these processes, how to get teams out in the streets, identify patients that may be cases, collect samples and send these samples through the mechanisms that we have set up and let us increase testing.

“The limiting factor is getting the right samples into labs and that’s our collective responsibility for the next 2 weeks,” he said.


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