Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has urged the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to certify the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) laboratory in the state as a testing centre for COVID-19.
Makinde made the call on Tuesday when the NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu led other management staff of the agency on a courtesy visit to him at Agodi Government House Ibadan.
The governor, while commending the NCDC for the work they were doing nationally, said though Oyo state has a laboratory that was already functioning but needed the support of the NCDC to certify the IITA laboratory.
He stated that the institution had written to the NCDC and the state government in respect of the request for certification of the laboratory.
The governor explained that Oyo is a vast and populated state that required additional laboratory centres, asserting that if Lagos State has six certified laboratories by NCDC, then two or three laboratories wouldn’t be bad for Oyo state.
He informed the NCDC team that his administration wanted to do mass testing “and my aspiration is to do testing for 10,000 people within the shortest possible time”.
On measures put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Makinde said he was able to assemble the best hands in the state, such as Prof. Temitope Alonge, former Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital Ibadan, and Prof. David Olaleye – a Virologist, to face the challenge.
He said the state government was doing all humanly possible to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.
He also told the NCDC team that his government had upgraded the Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo in Ibadan to a very high standard for use.
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Speaking at the end of the team’s inspection visit to Intensive Care Unit – UCH, Emergency Operation center-state Ministry of Health and Infectious Disease Centre – Olodo Ibadan, Ihekweazu said his team was impressed with the commitment of the state government as regards resources put together.
“Across all aspects of response from the laboratory at UCH, public health team and the treatment centre that we have seen here, we have seen that all components of the response are coming together.
“Now, we need to make it functional, find a way to keep it going and we will learn from each other as we progress in this response,” the NCDC boss stated.