Insist on aggressive testing to validate success

Raise alarm over mode of transporting samples

By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria, AMLSN, Cross River Branch has predicted that there were possibilities of positive cases in the state, insisting that more tests must be carried out to ascertain the level of success.

The Association also said that since the first case of the pandemic was reported in Nigeria, it was difficult to believe that there were no cases in the state when only 10 persons have been tested out of over 4 million CrossRiverians.

The Chairman, AMLSN, Cross River Branch, Ndem Benedict who said this while briefing journalists on Wednesday in Calabar added that the mode of transportation sample through public transport was appalling.

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His words: “We can only add that the best way to validate the success of state prevention strategy is testing, testing, and more testing, as this remains the only method to ascertain the success or otherwise of the preventive strategy deployed thus far in the State.

“So far, since February 27 when the

the index case was  recorded in Nigeria, of the almost 25,000 tests performed in the nation, not more than ten samples (persons) have been tested from Cross River State to our knowledge,” he said

It is difficult to believe that there are no positive cases in the testing as the only way to know this was by aggressive testing.

He said: “Such a testing profile can only give our current zero-prevalence status a very fragile or artificial picture. We strongly recommend and encourage active surveillance and testing for Covid-19 in the State.

“We implore the State Government without delay to liaise with NCDC and possibly in partnership with donor agencies such as 54 genes amongst others to set up testing centers in the State.

“In this regard, the current facilities at BSL 3 Laboratory at Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital and BSL2 HIV PCR lab at UCTH, Calabar, could be the likely candidates for upgrading or recalibration to function as testing centers for Covid-19.

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“We can unequivocally confirm that there are more than enough Medical Laboratory Scientists in the state with requisite RT- PCR testing proficiency, who are quite ready and willing to drive such facility in the State.

“We are utterly dismayed with a very disturbing practice of transporting clinical specimens from suspected Covid-19 cases in the State by public transport system from collection points to collation center before onward movement to NCDC testing center.

“We hereby call on the State’s COVID 19 Task Force to do the needful by conforming to the universal best practice of assigning an Ambulance or any dedicated utility vehicle for transport of potentially infectious clinical specimens.


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