Highlights Of Response By Honourable Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire To Questions From Journalists During The Presidential Task Force On COVID-19 Press Briefing Held On Monday, 21st September, 2020
On whether our testing capacity for COVID-19 is enough:
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire stated that “the testing capacity we have now is very commendable and it is being utilized maybe by 35 or 40 percent and by the way, we have over 80 laboratories that are functioning now; it is not fully utilized. In order to fully utilize our testing capacity, we need to have samples and these are taken at the States and Local Government levels by the functionaries of State Governments or Local Governments who work in the ministries.
These samples should be brought over to the laboratories for testing and if the sample does not go well there, that is too slow or nothing happened at all, then we have these hiccups.
The Minister further said that there are some people who have spoken of fatigue or complacency or people being tired, we don’t know exactly why, but we resolved just this morning at the Ministry of Health that a Senior Director who would go and pay advocacy visits to the States, and engage particularly those whom we think are not doing what they should do and are not doing well enough.
We need to remind them that we are not yet out of the woods; this COVID is still threatening and we need to know our status by doing enough testing. I have also been doing that in the meetings I have with the Governors, some have expressed their problems and some have asked what they have to do, they have asked what kind of yardsticks, they can’t just go to the streets and be testing, what kind of symptoms they should look out for. I’ve repeated those symptoms today; so that if we have people in that category, we can take samples and send. So, we have to do advocacy at States and LG levels, and also to Community leaders, and try very hard to increase the pace of testing. The Labs are there, some of them are not even carrying the numbers of tests they can carry, such that we are also thinking of shutting down certain Labs because some of them are just wasting, not doing what they are not working near their capacity.
Olujimi Oyetomi, Dir. Information.