The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has activated the inclusion of the Ondo State Public Health Laboratory to its Molecular Laboratory Network in the country.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, told News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that the health agency stayed on track in its goal to rapidly scale up laboratory testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19 ) pandemic outbreak in the country.
NAN reports that a Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory is responsible for the development and performance of molecular diagnostic tests for nucleic acid targets found in a variety of settings in medicine.
The three broad areas of testing include genetics, hematopathology and infectious disease.
Ihekweazu said that the establishment of the laboratory was the result of the strong collaboration between the Federal and State Governments.
The NCDC boss said that the additional public health laboratory from Ondo State brings the agency's molecular laboratory networks in the country to 75.
He stated clearly that "testing at any PUBLIC laboratory in the NCDC network is FREE OF CHARGE".
"We have worked tirelessly to approve at least 75 certified public laboratories across Nigeria to ensure that free testing is available to those who need it the most.
"Currently, there is at least one molecular laboratory in every state in the country," he told NAN.
According to him, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, several states in the country had limited capacity for the management and detection of infectious diseases.
"In response to this, NCDC has been supporting states in establishing treatment centres and molecular laboratories."
The D-G said that most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover and that no one should face shame or stigma.
"This will only deter people from going for testing and inevitably prolong the outbreak.
"If feeling unwell, stay home, avoid immediate self-medication and get tested for COVID-19 to rule it out. Isolate while you await the test results.
"If you test positive for COVID-19, notify others you have come in contact with. This enables them to take the necessary precautionary steps.
"If you are notified that someone you came in contact with tested positive for COVID-19, be responsible and get tested for COVID-19 and isolate while you await your results," he advised.
Vanguard News Nigeria