(By Chris K. Amadi) -The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has declared the Indorama’s Molecular Laboratory for the testing of COVID – 19 samples as number three among 37 molecular laboratories in Nigeria.
This observation was contained in NCDC’s latest report for Week 40 ending Sunday 11th October, and the contribution of Indorama’s molecular laboratory, which is located in Port Harcourt, has placed Rivers State in the second position among states/FCT with the highest sample testing.
“Out of 23,305 COVID-19 tests carried out by 70 laboratories across the country in Week 40, Indorama Molecular Lab (IML) did 1,666, which helped to identify positive cases and managing them successfully.
“A total of 23,305 tests were done in week 40 by 70 labs. NRL, Sahel labs and IML tested the most in week 40,” the NCDC report noted, adding that
“A total of 23,305 samples were tested in week 40 by 36 states. Majority of the samples were from Lagos, Rivers and Katsina states, respectively. Kebbi and Kogi tested the least in week 40.”
Positive cases table released by NCDC in recent times had put Rivers State in the first, second or third positions, and this has been attributed to sustained sample testing across the state.
It would be recalled that, as at Monday, 12th October 2020, Rivers State was said to have 2,661 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 2,481 discharged and 59 deaths recorded. However, the State has not recorded new death from the disease in recent weeks.
Meanwhile NCDC has identified five major challenges militating against effective samples testing in Nigeria. According to the health agency, samples from most of the States are not reaching the labs within 24 hours of sample collection; reduction in the number of samples coming from the States in straight weeks (week 30-40), and challenges over turn around time.
“The laboratory turn-around time still needs improvement; some labs do not submit their line-lists in a timely manner, and some do not submit at all; Some labs have not sent their daily testing capacities to National”, the report emphasized.
The NCDC report had some recommendations for improving the outcomes: They include improvement of turnaround time of the labs and timely communication of identified challenges to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.
The report also recommended that all states have testing labs so as to reduce the time it takes for samples to reach the labs, submission of line-list by all testing labs in a timely manner to National; and all the need for all labs to provide National with information on their daily testing capacities.
Recall that on July 22nd, 2020, NCDC announced that it had accredited the Indorama Molecular Lab with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as a strategic partner in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The lab was meant to ensure that over 7,000 workers in the expansive petrochemicals complex are tested regularly (every 10 days), and those found positive are managed properly to reduce the spread of the disease and loss of lives.
At that time, the Managing Director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, IEPL, Mr. Manish Mundra, had thanked the Rivers State Ministry of Health and the NCDC for their guidance in actualizing the setting up of the molecular laboratory.