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COVID-19: Pathologists demand support, more testing centres

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coronavirusThe College of Nigerian Pathologists (CNP) has demanded support and motivation through provision of necessary materials and appropriate incentives over COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof. Phillip Olatunji, CNP President, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, also called for establishment of more testing centres across the country.

He urged government to decentralise the testing centres as a strategy to accelerate the control of COVID-19.

Olatunji said pathologists and medical laboratory scientists in tertiary health care centres in the country should be allowed to carryout COVID-19 tests.

The CNP President urged the Federal and state governments to deploy a portion of the COVID-19 budget to bridge whatever deficiencies existed in the tertiary diagnostic laboratories in the country.

He commended government for the various interventions toward curbing COVID-19 spread across the country.

According to him, those in the front line must be fully supported and motivated through the provision of all necessary working materials and appropriate incentives.

“This is important because, while educational institutions, markets, recreation areas, beaches, and religious places can close and communities locked down, hospitals must remain open and health care personnel must remain at work,” he said.

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Olatunji stated that CNP members had in their varied capacity played leadership roles in case identification, case management and development of guidelines and protocol for infection prevention and control of COVID-19.

He commended CNP members and other health workers who were at the forefront in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that they should not relent until it was brought under control.

He said CNP was aware of the advertisement of a few rapid serological test kits being touted for the diagnosis of COVID-19, and some were already showing interest.

According to him, in the first instance, many of these kits are antibody-based and may not be appropriate for accurate diagnosis and also they are not validated, hence, their sensitivity and specificity are unknown.

“While we caution against using these test kits, we recommend that an in-country evaluation could be done for some that are said to be antigen-based.

“We are of the view that anything that can positively contribute to the control of the pandemic should be embraced,” he said.

He said that at these critical moment, diagnostic utility should employ the NCDC recommended Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), while calling for a more innovative and quicker diagnostic approach.

Olatunji also expressed concerned over a possible abuse of Chloroquine arising from its purported usefulness in treating COVID-19 infection.

He said it was gladdening to note that more than 95 per cent of infected persons were now stable, stressing that there was no need to panic, confused or over-react. (NAN)

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