FG told to decentralise testing to accelerate COVID-19 control
PATHOLOGISTS in Nigeria have expressed concern on the inadequacy of testing centres across the country and urged the Federal government to substantially decentralise the testing centres as a strategy to accelerate the control of the COVID-19 spread in the country.
President, College of Nigerian Pathologists, Professor Phillip Olatunji, in a release said that there was no reason tertiary healthcare centres with competent pathologists and medical laboratory scientists cannot carry out COVID-19 tests.
He said that federal and state governments should deploy a portion of the COVID-19 budget to bridge whatever deficiencies exist in the nation’s tertiary diagnostic laboratories to ensure increased access to COVID testing in Nigeria.
Professor Olatunji said although a few rapid test kits for COVID-19 are touted for the diagnosis of the viral infection, many of these kits are not appropriate for accurate diagnosis since they are not validated for their sensitivity and specificity.
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He said, “While we caution against using these test kits, we recommend that an in-country evaluation could be done for some that are said to be antigen-based.
“While we recommend that at this critical moment that diagnostic utility should employ the NCDC recommended Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), we call for a more innovative and quicker diagnostic approach.”
The CNP president also expressed concern about the possible abuse of chloroquine, arising from its purported usefulness in treating COVID-19 and cautioned that its inappropriate use has a damaging effect on the eye and functioning of the heart.
According to him, “chloroquine should, therefore, only be used under the guidance of certified medical personnel in the care of people with COVID-19.”
He, said Nigerians continue to keep all preventive and protection instructions on COVID-19 but should not to panic or get confused or over-react since more than 95 per cent of infected persons with COVID-19 are stable.
Professor Olatunji asked that the government should fully support and motivate health workers who are at the forefront in fighting the pandemic through the provision of all necessary working materials and appropriate incentives to ensure that hospitals remain open and healthcare personnel remain at work.
He cautioned against the spread of fake and unverified news and urged the public to consult authoritative websites and sources for reliable information and only share information they have personally verified.