Lagos govt approves seven private laboratories for COVID-19 testing

Faith Osamaye, a Youth Corps member is one of the young scientists working at the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory as Nigeria responds for the outbreak of COVID-19. Photo: Nigeria Health Watch
Faith Osamaye, a Youth Corps member is one of the young scientists working at the NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory as Nigeria responds for the outbreak of COVID-19. Photo: Nigeria Health Watch

Seven private laboratories in Lagos have been approved by the state government to commence COVID-19 testing to ramp up the state’s testing capacity.

During the official signing of agreement between the state and private laboratories, Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said the selection and approval followed a rigorous process.

He said the action is a key element in the next phase of the state’s response strategy to expand diagnostic testing and ensure a larger number of people have access to COVID-19 test.

The commissioner said the partnership will expand the state’s capacity to meet the growing demand for testing in the next stage of it’s biosecurity road map.

The approved private laboratories are;

Total Medical Services,

SynLab,

54 Gene,

Medbury medical Services,

Biologix Medical Services,

02 Medical Services, and

Clina Lancent Laboratory.

“We recognise the need to expand our testing, especially to the local government areas that are most affected by the community transmission of the virus and as Lagos State continuously manages the public crises caused by COVID-19, it simultaneously attempts to open up various aspects of its economy. Both efforts make it imperative that COVID19 tests are widely available to members of the public.

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“In a bid to ramp up our testing capacity, we have taken a strategic decision to include private laboratories in the testing of COVID19. However, the State’s COVID19 response will remain a centrally managed emergency response by the State Government and the need to test will be surveillance driven and based on a clear case definition,” the commissioner said.

Mr Abayomi said citizens will now have to request for COVID-19 test “to confirm status periodically, as part of requirements for returning to work, which will be a regulatory requirement for selected industries like the food and beverage industry, local & international travel requirements, requirements for resuming school and admission into hospital”.

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“We expect demand for tests from the following industries: individuals in the informal sector, banking & finance, manufacturing, food & beverages, schools, aviation industry, fast moving consumer goods, hospitality amongst others. Based on the projected cumulative demand from the above, we believe that demand for COVID-19 tests could exceed 4,000 per day in the next six months, ” he said.

While tests will continue to be free of charge in public laboratories, the commissioner said tests at the private laboratories are not free of cost.

He further said that the Lagos State Biobank will serve as the central coordinating body for the accredited private laboratories and will facilitate effective information exchange, access to training, maintain secure chain of custody procedure and ensure technical standards in the operations of the laboratories.

The commissioner disclosed that the state has carried out over 40,000 COVID-19 tests.

As of Monday, Lagos had 10,310 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 8,590 active cases, 1533 discharged cases and 128 deaths.



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