FEC Approves N8.4bn For Additional Testing, Diagnostic Materials For 774 LGAs

FEC Approves N8.4bn For Additional Testing, Diagnostic Materials For 774 LGAs

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved N8.49billion for the procurement of 12 items in various quantities for the testing of coronavirus pandemic by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 11th virtual meeting of the Council, held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, the approval will enable the NCDC to procure COVID-19 testing and diagnostic kits for all the 774 Local Government Areas of the federation.

He said: “The Minister of Health presented a memo on behalf of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to procure materials for preparation for COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging all parts of the world including our country.

“This is part of the preparedness for community transmission which is going on now and has affected 586 Local Government Areas and we need materials to expand our testing and diagnostic capabilities.

“This memo is the result of the Presidential Task Force COVID-19 and special intervention for COVID-19 which is operated by the Presidential Task Force which allocated these resources for NCDC preparedness.

“So, we are procuring testing materials right from sample materials to other kits for diagnostics in our laboratory system to be able to respond properly to the community transmission phase.

“We have already made plans to have at least one sample collection site in every local government, minimum of 774 and these resources would be necessary to go round the 774 local government areas to ensure that persons in the rural areas or small towns are not excluded and to ensure that not only the big cities are the ones being attended to.

“So, that is the basis for the entire memo.’’

The minister also dismissed the assertion that the PTF had deliberately ignored the use Rapid Diagnostic Test in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic, saying the test is being used across the country.

He, however, stated that the test was not very reliable as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other experts.

He said: “It is not that nobody is thinking of rapid diagnostic test, it is being used all over the world even in Nigeria today but the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other experts, have said that this test is not very reliable and that it also delivered a significant number of false positive or false negative result.

“So, if you go to a place where a percentage of test result can give you a wrong result, then you have to be careful. Whereas the PRC test, that is the polymerise chain reaction test is accurate and reliable.

“So, if you want to know how accurate a person is positive, that is the test you ought to do, that is the recommendation of World Health Organization.

“There is also the anti-body rapid test and the anti-gem rapid test. So, I believe that within a matter of weeks and months, there will be one that will be accurate enough for us to reliable on.

“So, those who do the rapid test now, if it is positive you have to go and confirm with the PRC because the accuracy is questionable. Some of them their accuracy is 60 per cent, which means that 40 per cent will be wrong, others are 20 per cent wrong which is why Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), is not yet officially used in Nigeria.

“But I personally believe that as they continue to improve on it within some months we shall be able to use it. Meanwhile, we use only the most reliable one, which is PCR.”

Ehanire also frowned at the reported disregard for COVID-19 protocols at the ongoing political campaigns in Edo and the funeral rites of Sen. Buruji Kashamu, in Ogun.

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