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Anambra begins COVID-19 testing at Onitsha General Hospital

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The Anambra State government has received the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) certification to begin testing for the COVID-19 at Onitsha General Hospital.

The Onitsha General Hospital is the third COVID-19 testing centre in the state.

The Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, who regretted that general hospitals in Nigeria were not what they should be, as they lacked adequate medical facilities to conduct investigations, testing and treatment, said that it was a thing of joy that steps were now being taken to rectify the historical errors.

“As everyone acknowledges, Anambra State has done supremely well in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It is not fortuitous we have one of the lowest infection figures and hospitalisation in the country, despite having some of the largest markets in West Africa which millions of people from all over West and Central Africa visit daily, thus making them over-congested. I am confident that public policy researchers anywhere in the world will find our approach to the fight against COVID-19 the most exemplary in Nigeria,” he said.

He said that there was need for the third COVID-19 testing centre in the state, even though the first two, which are the Accuanalysis Diagnostic Centre, a public and private partnership (PPP), located in Nnewi and the state-owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, recognised as the only mega laboratory in the whole of the South-East, are not fully utilised.

He said while the former laboratories could test up to 2,350 samples in each cycle of 12 hours, as each of the five installed units can test up to 470 samples within this period and operate only when there are at least 24 samples, as well as takes days to reach this figure, the defects had been corrected by the new facility at the Onitsha General Hospital.

Adinuba added that the new machine at the Onitsha General Hospital could operate even when there is only one sample with the result out within one or two hours.

The commissioner explained that the brand of the COVID-19 testing equipment at the hospital, which is GeneXpert, came from the United States (U.S.) and was being used traditionally to test tuberculosis, but that with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the manufacturers decided to add a mechanism to enable it test for COVID-19.

“The Anambra State people are proud that their state is the first state in Nigeria and so far the only one to have a general hospital which tests for COVID-19. The unique status, which the Onitsha General Hospital now enjoys, will help it to build capacity,” the commissioner further said.

Adinuba said that with the three testing centres, all residents of the state are encouraged to do voluntary testing free, adding that it is now mandatory for civil servants to do COVID-19 tests for early detection, which he said, aimed to fight against the pandemic.

“Early detection is key in the fight against COVID-19. Once an infection is detected early enough, it is pretty easy for our case management team to take care of it,” he said.


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