Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu is not happy with the insufficiency of coronavirus pandemic testing centres in Nigeria.
Reacting to the comments credited to the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekwazu that just 2,000 Nigerians have been tested for COVID 19 in the last one month, Toby disclosed that the figure is just not right in a country with 200 million people.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 need to urgently upgrade the 34 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratories to COVID-19 centres for mass testing if we are to succeed in our fight against the virus.
He added that Nigeria must increase its testing capabilities from the present 7 test centres in order to successfully track down the over 6,000 COVID-19 contacts.
His words, “The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has told us that only 2,000 Nigerians have been tested in over one month of combating COVID-19. This figure is quite low for a country of about 200 million people.
“Our first line of responsibility on this, therefore, is to ensure that testing services are available in, at least, all the states of the federation. If we are tracking over 6,000 contacts, then we need more testing facilities.
“We just have to scale it up across the country to enable us to ascertain the true extent of the outbreak in the country. Let us know how many Nigerians that are exposed, let us isolate, and let us test maximally”.
“There are critical aspects here, such as prevention, testing, tracking, isolation, case management, dealing with the social interventions, and of course evaluation.
“For instance, how many Nigerians do we intend to test by the end of April? How many new testing centres are we expecting?”