The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) activated the Anambra State COVID-19 Test Centre located at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, the state capital.
The approval by Governor Willie Obiano followed receipt of test kits and other relevant materials from the NCDC while commencement of testing was fixed for July 6, 2020.
According to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, the mega PCR laboratory is equipped with five Abbot m2000 platforms – a sophisticated machine that has the ability to run 94 tests per cycle.
He explained that when fully optimised, one can get five cycles done in 24 hours, saying that it will translate to 470 tests by a machine per day.
“If one were to dedicate the five machines to COVID-19 testing, one will hit 2,350 tests per day. This is the first time it will be used in the entire country for COVID-19 test.
“The Abbot platform uses only kits manufactured by Abbot. The product was in high demand all over the world because of its efficacy and naturally, it became scarce. Logistics was also a global problem occassioned by the pandemic
“So far, the lab personnel have shown a lot of professionalism and we are proud of the progress we have made since we launched this war against Covid-19. We will no longer need to take samples to Irua and wait for days for confirmation.”
Okpala stressed that the activation of the testing centre was delayed because of the special kits used by the machine.
While saying that the activation of the COOUTH test centre by the NCDC will douse concerns over testing in Anambra State, noting that it will also aid the fight against COVID-19 as confirmation of test results will take lesser time, with more people getting tested locally.
He added that the state embarked on training of personnel for testing and sample collection, believing that this day would come.
“We are also grateful to NCDC, FHI360, Global Fund, WHO and all those who worked assiduously to make this a reality,” Dr. Okpala said.
The Commissioner hailed the state governor for his support and commitment to every step of the way, saying that his commitment to the fight against COVID-19 is commendable.