COVID-19:Indorama molecular lab, third best in sampling test, says NCDC – From Chukwudi Ejimofor, P/H

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Indorama’s Molecular Laboratory, in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, has enhanced the fight against  the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the country. 

NCDC’s latest report for week 40 ending Sunday 11th October shows that Indorama Molecular Lab came third among the 67 molecular laboratories in the country, and placed Rivers state in the second position among states/FCT with the highest sample testing. 

Out of 23,305 COVID-19 tests carried out by 70 laboratories across the country in week 40, Indorama Molecular Lab (IML) did 1,666, which helped to identify positive cases and managing them successfully. 

“A total of 23,305 tests were done in week 40 by 70 labs. NRL, Sahel labs and IML tested the most in week 40,” the report noted. 

The report further noted: “A total of 23,305 samples were tested in week 40 by 36 states. Majority of the samples were from Lagos, Rivers and Katsina states, respectively. Kebbi and Kogi tested the least in week 40.”

In recent times, Rivers State has come 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the daily positive cases table released by NCDC as a result of sustained sample testing across the state. 

As at Monday, 12th October 2020, Rivers state has had 2,661 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,481 discharged and 59 deaths recorded, according to NCDC. The State has not recorded new death from the disease in recent weeks. 

The health agency identified five major challenges militating against effective samples testing in Nigeria. 

They include: “Samples from most of the States are not reaching the labs within 24 hours of sample collection; and there has been a reduction in the number of samples coming from the States in straight weeks (week 30-40).

Other challenges are: “the laboratory turn-around time still needs improvement; some labs do not submit their line-lists in a timely manner, and some do not submit at all; Some labs have not sent their daily testing capacities to National”

The following recommendations were offered for improvement: “Labs should improve on their turn around time and communicate their challenges which might be affecting their TAT to the appropriate quarters; and all States should have testing labs as this will reduce the time it takes for sample to reach the labs.

Indorama Molecular Laboratory, third in the country

The other recommendations are: “All testing labs should submit their line-list in a timely manner to National; and all labs to provide National with information on their daily testing capacities”.

Recall on July 22nd this year, NCDC announced that it had accredited the Indorama Molecular Lab with state-of the-art medical equipment, as a strategic partner in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. 

The aim was to ensure that over 7,000 workers in the expansive petrochemicals complex are tested regularly (every 10 days) and those found positive are managed properly to reduce spread of the disease and loss of lives. 

The Managing Director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited (IEPL), Mr Manish Mundra, had thanked Rivers state Ministry of Health at that time, and the NCDC for their guidance in actualizing the setting up of the molecular laboratory.

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