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N8.49 Billion approved for COVID-19 Testing Equipment Purchase

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N8.49 billion for the purchase of 12 testing equipment containing large quantities of items, including sample collection material kits, as part of its efforts to fight against COVID.

Minister of health, Dr. Osage Ehanire in an interview held at the end of the 11th virtual FEC meeting in the State House stated that plans had been made to establish sample collection centres in each of the 774 local government areas of the country with a view to ensuring that residents of rural communities are not left to their fate in the fight against COVID-19, PUNCH reported. 

“This memo is as a result of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic and special intervention fund for COVID-19 which is operated by the Presidential Task Force. It allocates these resources for NCDC’s preparedness.

“We have already made plans to have at least one sample collection center in every local government, minimum of 774 and these resources will be necessary to go around the 774 local government areas, to ensure that persons in rural areas and small towns are not excluded and to ensure that not only the big cities are the ones that are being attended to. So, that is the basis for the memo. The cost is N8.49 billion to procure the items that are involved. There are a total of 12 items, the quantities involved are large numbers which will be sent out later,” Ehanire said.

When asked why both the PTF and the Ministry of Health have been reluctant in introducing rapid test kits which can make results of COVID-19 tests immediately available, he mentioned that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other medical experts are opposed to rapid test diagnosis as a result of beliefs that it is not reliable because it produces a number of false-positive or false-negative results.

He, however assured that efforts are being made to improve on a rapid diagnostic test, and that in a matter of months, it will eventually, be introduced into the system.

Meanwhile, recent reports on covid 19  by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, showed that Nigeria has for first time in two months not lost any patient to pandemic-related deaths. 

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