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Lagos inaugurates consortium on testing for COVID-19

In Lagos State, a Public-Private Consortium on testing and management of COVID-19 cases has been inaugurated by the state government as part of its strategy and response to growing public health demands over the pandemic.

Seven molecular laboratories were unveiled in the first tranche of the partnership which was geared towards increasing COVID-19 testing capacity and turn around time in Lagos to at least four thousand tests per day in the next few months.

The seven private Laboratories are Total medical services, 54Gene, 02 Medical, Medbury Medical, ClinaLancet as well as Synlab and Biologix Medical services.

In a remarks during the ceremony in Alausa Ikeja, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi warned that testing and management of COVID-19 cases outside of government framework is illegal.

Prof. Abayomi cautioned residents against patronizing unauthorized laboratories using rapid testing kits for COVID-19 said the state and federal governments had not approved the use of such kits as results gotten through them may complicate and jeopardize the health of all those involved in the management of the pandemic.

The Commissioner explained that while COVID-19 testing in government facilities would continue to be free, similar services at the authorized private laboratories would cost fifty thousand and four hundred naira.

“If you are a company or an individual and you want to be tested, you will pay for the test and that test would be directed to one of these private laboratories in the consortium, at the same time, the government will be running the public health response, free of charge” Prof. Abayomi stated.

The Commissioner maintained that asymptomatic patients would be treated at home provided their residences are conducive for isolation, while government isolation facilities would be reserved for mild to severe cases.

The Director of the Lagos Biobank, Dr Bamidele Mutiu said that private laboratories who made the consortium were thoroughly screened to ensure the safety of all those who would be involved in testing and the securing of COVID-19 pathogens.

Dr Mutiu said all the tests that would be conducted by the Consortium would be streamlined by Government, while each lab would be re-validated every six weeks

He said; “We have a dashboard, if you are not meeting the 24-hour turn around time, your lab will be in red, public testing is still going to be the same, even with those that want to know their status”.

Dr Mutiu said many other laboratories are in currently at different stages of validation

Omolara Omosanya

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