…. we spend N40, 000 to 50,000 on each test
The Lagos State Government said it has conducted about 16, 000 COVID-19 tests at a cost ranges from N40, 000 to N50, 000 per test for residents of the state.
This was disclosed by the state commissioner for health Prof. Akin Abayomi, at the Lagos COVID-19 update on Thursday.
The health commissioner stated that the state is planning to increase its capacity to ramp up testing capacity to about one thousand on a daily basis. To achieve this, he said the state planned to increase testing centres in the coming weeks.
Abayomi said that Lagos being the epicentre of the virus had conducted the highest number of COVID-19 tests in Nigeria, with four testing laboratories.
He said as the state ramps up its testing capacity, there will be need to subside the cost of the test, either through insurance or donor funds.
“For now, the Lagos State Government is providing COVID-19 tests free of charge,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state would validate rapid test kits to enhance case detection, adding that the process had commenced and manufacturers of the tests kits identified.
According to him, the state is about to roll out Hydroxychloroquine trial.
He added that the state was also participating in a World Health Organisation (WHO)’s solidarity trial of the drug in one of its isolation centres.
“In about a month, we should start getting results from the Lagos trial.
“Then, we can decide whether Chloroquine can act as a preventive or curative purpose, and how effective it will be in reducing the severity of the disease,” said.
Abayomi said the state will regularise home, isolation and treatment strategy to speed up testing and treatment of COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
Given reason for the option of home treatment, Abayomi said it was due to increase in number of people who are avoiding isolation centres in the state.
He maintained that contrary to what was obtainable in other countries; most patients that were infected with COVID-19 in Lagos were expected to make full recovery.
Abayomi cautioned the public against stigmatisation of people infected with the virus, saying, “it is not a crime or death sentence”.
Abayomi further revealed that the Traditional Medicine Board is working on home remedies that could be taken to boost the immune system.
He added that the state government had the virus under control and evolving various strategies to reduce its impact on the citizens.
Commenting, Dr Ayoola Aina, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, said that the board was actively pursuing community engagement as parts of response to control the spread of COVID-19.
Aina said that as the state had incorporated primary healthcare centres in his COVID-19 plan, the board was utilising attendance appointments to reduce crowd and derisk the PHCs as infection prevention control.
The permanent secretary said that the state was still conducting its routine immunisation and family planning programme at PHCs to reduce morbidity and mortality.
Also, Dr Oreoluwa Finnih, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Health, advised the citizens to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables to boost their immune system.
Finnih added that incorporating ginger, garlic and turmeric in moderate portions would help nutrition and the immune system, while advising controlled exposure to sunshine for Vit-D.
Commenting, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said that the state was introducing various strategies to ease the post COVID-19 transition.