The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has approved the Polymerase Claim Reaction (PCR) laboratory built by the Akwa Ibom State government for the testing of Covid-19 samples.
The PCR lab situated at the 300-bed capacity isolation centre at Ituk Mbang in Uruan local government is expected to alleviate the challenge hitherto faced by the state in sending samples to other states for testing.
The leader of the NCDC delegation Bamidele Oluwafemi, told the Chairman of COVID-19 Management Committee and Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem during a visit that the PCR lab was one of the best in the country.
Oluwafemi said his team had inspected the facility and trained personnel at the isolation centre on how to carry out COVID-19 test and interpret results, adding that everything at the centre was up to the required standard.
The NCDC team leader lauded the state government for building the isolation centre from the scratch without the support of the Federal government unlike other states.
He the facility will not only serve the purpose of containing the spread of COVID-19, but other viral diseases in the state unlike what is obtainable in some states of the federation where some old buildings are being converted into isolation centres.
He, however, recommended that some relevant section of the Ituk Mbang isolation centre be demarcated to ensure smooth service delivery.
He said with the activation and approval of the laboratory, sample testing of suspected COVID-19 infected persons would commence in a few days.
Responding, Dr Ekuwem, thanked NCDC team for activating and approving the PCR lab as well as adjudging the lab and isolation centre as one of the best in the country.
He said: “on behalf of the governor, I express our gratitude to the NCDC team, for visiting our state to inspect and evaluate the kind of facility we have in the premises of General Hospital, Ituk Mbang.”
The COVID-19 Management Committee Chairman also expressed appreciation to Governor Udom Emmanuel for the huge investment in the health sector of the state’s economy as exemplified in the upgrading of health care facilities across the state.
The State Incident Manager and Commissioner for Health Dr Dominic Ukpong, noted that with the approval of the PCR lab in the State, the difficulty the state was experiencing in taking COVID-19 samples to other states for testing and timely results of the test, is now a thing of the past.
According to Dr Ukpong, the lab which would also be used in carrying out tests for other infectious diseases, would help in increasing the testing capacity of persons suspected of the COVID-19, thereby helping the state to contain further spread of the virus.