NCDC DG, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says countries have different approaches to test for Coronavirus (COVID-19), as Nigeria has a carefully calibrated testing approach.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, made the assertion on Thursday in Abuja, against the backdrop that some countries were testing more for the virus.

Ihekweazu, while responding to questions from journalists at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily press briefing, said that the most resourced countries were not testing everyone.

He said that the agency was not playing a game with testing in the country.

“Every test involves a risk assessment to make sure it’s appropriate to test the person.

“We will continue to ensure we test the right people at the right time,” the NCDC director-general explained.

He, however, said that the agency has a strategy and would keep scaling up the testing for the virus across the country.

According to him, the agency is trying to ensure effective experience sharing across states responding to the pandemic in the country.

“So that lessons learnt in states such as Lagos and Ogun can be applied elsewhere, because the challenges are similar across board,” he added.

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Ihekweazu said that Kano State showed a rapid spike in numbers, unlike a more gradual situation in Lagos.

He noted that it was not a very simple thing to manage, but the agency was helping the state to improve the efficiency of response.

“I am confident that we will see results in the next few days,” the director-general said.

He said the treatment centre in Kano was scaling up and has capacity for 300 people.

Ihekweazu said that there was a high synergy between the State and Federal Governments in the fight against the virus in the country.

“We are very happy with the collaboration so far,” he said.

Ihekweazu said that the success of NCDC work depended largely on the implementation at the state level.

He, however, said that, himself and a representative from the World Health Organisation(WHO) had just completed a four-day trip across nine states of the federation.

According to him, this is to gain a better understanding of the progress, challenges, priorities, issues and opportunities.

The director-general said that the trip was eye-opening.

He said the agency was focussed on ensuring every intervention or investment in response to COVID-19 helped the country to solve the short-term problem, while building people, systems and institutions.

Ihekweazu said NCDC  would  make the best out of the crisis to strengthen outbreak preparedness in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the public health response to COVID-19 was built on the NCDC’s ability to detect, test and admit cases as well as trace all their contacts.

The National Rapid Response Teams were NCDC, WHO Nigeria and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology Laboratory Programme, which are currently in 23 states, supporting response activities of the pandemic.


Vanguard News Nigeria.


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