By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated the newly opened Bayelsa State Molecular Laboratory, Research and Diagnostic Center as a COVID testing laboratory in the country.
The facility, which was inaugurated by Governor Douye Diri on Tuesday, brought the number of NCDC-accredited laboratories in the country to 66 in 34 states.
The NCDC in a letter signed by the Laboratory Network Advisor, Celestina Obiekea, and addressed to the Bayelsa State Health Commissioner, stated that the laboratory had met the necessary requirements for a molecular laboratory to conduct COVID testing and was compliant. with all the validations and optimizations.
He further explained that the state will be responsible for the procurement of consumables, equipment and other materials, while the NCDC will support it with reagents and test kits.
“This is to officially inform you that having met the necessary requirements for a molecular laboratory to perform COVID testing and all successful validations and optimizations, the Bayelsa Medical University Molecular Biology Laboratory is now activated as a testing laboratory for COVID in Nigeria.
“The state will be the main responsible for the procurement of consumables, equipment and other materials, while NCDC will support with reagents and test kits available to all laboratories nationwide.
“The laboratory is required to report daily test statistics to the NCDC as part of the national test data,” stated the NCDC.
When inaugurating the center, Governor Diri expressed his satisfaction with the quality of the medical equipment in the laboratory.
He said the creation of the center marked the end of the rigorous task of obtaining sample results from the states of Edo and Rivers.
His words: “From when we had the index case to the sample collection point outside of Bayelsa to Irrua in Edo state, it was not comfortable for us because it took a long time to arrive. Same for the test and sample results to be ready.
“There were some results that we got two months after Rivers State. From that moment on, we decided to have our own test center and laboratory.
“Then I gave a directive to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and his team. I am happy because it is one thing to approve and another to implement.
“So, I thank the Permanent Secretary, the Director of Public Health, the Vice-Rector of the Bayelsa Medical University and others who made it possible for us to have this center. We now have our own laboratory and testing center even beyond COVID-19. I call on the inhabitants of Bayelsa to make the most of this center. “
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, for his part, described the inauguration of the center as the most advanced measure and the comprehensive COVID-19 response plan for disease control in the state.
Dr. Apoku said the center had been rated one of the best by the NCDC during the accreditation process considering the type of COVID-19 equipment installed.
He noted that the center can process 200 samples in three to four hours, emphasizing that with a rapidly spreading disease like COVID, every hour is critical for containment.