Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided additional capacity development support to laboratories of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The support, which is the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) test kits, was aimed at strengthening detection and response to public health threats in Nigeria especially in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Representative, JICA Nigeria, Mr Nakagawa Takayuki said this in a statement issued through the Project Officer, Ms Damilola Graham-Douglas on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to the Takayuki, the support is provided as part of JICA’s ongoing technical cooperation project to the NCDC under Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
“In April 2020, JICA supported the NCDC through the provision of test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) materials and today as part of an additional support, is handing over RNA test kits that we hope will be geared toward increasing testing capacity of any new cases, emergency preparedness and response to the disease.
“In the past months, cases have continued to rise on a global scale and most countries have experienced different phases while trying to control the spread of the virus, several control measures have been adopted.
“Even more recently, some countries are beginning to implement rules on phases of lockdown as the number of deaths continues to rise and new cases are being detected.
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“The situation in Nigeria currently has over 75,000 confirmed cases and over 1,200 deaths recorded, the highest numbers of cases are seen in Lagos and Abuja.
“In the last two weeks, Nov. 30 to Dec. 13, the number of positive cases has increased by more than two folds.
“Testing positivity rates have more than doubled which points an increase in transmission of the virus across the country.
“Overall, 17 states recorded a decline in testing while 20 states recorded an increase, the number of deaths has also increased with 10 per cent (7 to 17 deaths) absolute change.
“With the number of cases increasing, JICA’s support on RNA test kits to the Government of Nigeria at this time will be highly beneficial and will be a significant contribution to increasing conduct of national tests,” he said.