The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided additional capacity building support to the laboratories of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
The support, which is ribonucleic acid (RNA) test kits, was intended to strengthen the detection and response to public health threats in Nigeria, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chief Representative of JICA Nigeria, Mr. Nakagawa Takayuki, said this in a statement issued through the Project Officer, Ms. Damilola Graham-Douglas on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to Takayuki, the support is provided as part of JICA’s ongoing technical cooperation project to the NCDC under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of Japan.
“In April 2020, JICA supported the NCDC by supplying test kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) materials and today, as part of additional support, it is delivering RNA test kits that we hope will be geared towards increase the ability to test any new cases, emergency preparedness and response to illness.
“In recent months, cases have continued to increase on a global scale and most countries have gone through different phases in trying to control the spread of the virus, various control measures have been adopted.
“Even more recently, some countries are beginning to implement rules on lockdown phases as the number of deaths continues to rise and new cases are detected.
“The situation in Nigeria currently has more than 75,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,200 registered deaths, the highest number of cases being observed in Lagos and Abuja.
“In the last two weeks, from November 30 to December 13, the number of positive cases has increased more than twice.
“Test positivity rates have more than doubled, pointing to an increase in transmission of the virus across the country.
Overall, 17 states saw a decrease in testing, while 20 states saw an increase, the number of deaths also increased with an absolute change of 10 percent (7 to 17 deaths).
“With the increase in the number of cases, JICA’s support for RNA test kits to the Nigerian Government at this time will be very beneficial and will make a significant contribution to increasing national testing,” he said.