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Lab scientists urge Akwa Ibom government to upscale TB testing machines

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Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Akwa Ibom State branch, has urged the state government to upscale the existing tuberculosis (TB) testing machines in the state to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Making the suggestion yesterday while donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals in the state, the chairman, Mrs. Emilia Eleazar, said AMLSN was ready to play its role of sample collection for COVID-19.

According to her, Akwa Ibom has 13 Genexpert Machines and a real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine, which could be upgraded and used for testing for COVID-19. She said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was upscaling such facilities in other states for COVID-19 testing while waiting to buy new machines.

“To expedite action, I will like the state government to upscale the existing machines, while also waiting to bring in the new ones.

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“It will help kick-start testing in the state immediately,” she said. The association also said that the state needed a biosafety cabinet for sample collection and transfer, “as it gets ready to embark on aggressive collection of samples in the state.”

Eleazar added that the role of laboratory scientists in the diagnosis of COVID-1 cases could not be over-emphasised. Responding on behalf of the state’s COVID-19 team, Dr Aniekeme Uwah commended AMLSN for its role in the fight against the pandemic in the state.

Uwah said the donations by AMSLN would help the COVID-19 response team in its prevention and control measures. He added that the pipes would also help protect the volunteers involved in the COVID-19 response.

The state epidemiologist said the support the COVID-19 team had got from medical laboratory scientists would remain invaluable as far as sample collection for coronavirus testing was concerned.

Hospitals that benefitted from the donation are Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Ikot Ekpene; Ibom Specialist Hospital; University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH); and Methodist General Hospital, Ituk Mbang.

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