Allow other laboratories test for COVID-19, NMA tells FG

Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)
Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)

With increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged the federal government to allow other laboratories test for the virus.

This, the association said, is necessary to avoid losing probable cases to the community.

This was part of the resolutions contained in a communique issued at the end of the association’s emergency executive council meeting held in Abuja on Friday.

According to the communique signed by the NMA FCT chairman, Philip Ekpe, there was an urgent need for the government to decentralize testing and turnaround time for the test of the virus.

“The NCDC should be unbundled with regards to laboratory testing and approval granted by the Ministry of Health for facilities with Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine to conduct the testing.

“This is to decentralize testing in order not to lose probable cases to the community and reduced waiting time for confirmation,” It said.

Nigeria currently has seven laboratories that can test for Covid-19. Of these, six are fully functional while the last one is still being set up.

The six functional laboratories are located in Lagos (2), Osun, Edo, FCT and Oyo.

As of the time of reporting, Nigeria has recorded 97 cases and more are expected to be recorded as the government intensifies contact tracing and more testing for suspected cases.


In the communique, the doctors’ association said it observed that a majority of the confirmed cases were returning travellers to the country.

“The turn around time for laboratory testing is high due to the overburdening of NCDC and scarce human resources. There is poor awareness/sensitization in the FCT suburbs/rural areas about the Covid-19 infection.

“There is poor adherence to social distancing in the FCT especially the suburbs and rural communities,” it said.

It also said there is a paucity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical workers.

The association urged the government to provide free and subsidised facemasks, hand sanitizers and PPEs to health workers and the public respectively.

It also called for immediate provision of life insurance to all medical volunteers.

Forced lockdown

The association said FCT lacks adequate designated isolation centres for a probable explosion of the Covid-19 infection.

It urged the authorities to lock down the FCT for two to four weeks which must be enforced in the suburbs and rural areas.

The federal government earlier said the national stadiums in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, and Kaduna will be used as isolation centres for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Coronavirus factsheet


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