Thursday, 14 May 2020

COVID-19: Lab Scientists fear positive cases in C'River, call for aggressive testing

14th May, 2020

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientist of Nigeria, AMLSN, Cross River Branch has predicted  that there were possibilities of positive cases in the state, insisting that more test must be carried out to ascertain level of success.

The Association also said that since the first case of the pandemic was reported in Nigeria, it was difficult to believe that there were no cases in the state when only 10 persons have been tested out of over 4 million CrossRiverians.

The Chairman, AMLSN ,Cross River Branch, Ndem Benedict who said this while briefing journalists on Wednesday in Calabar added  that  the mode of transportation sample through public transport was appalling.

His words :"We can only add that the best way to validate the success of state prevention strategy is testing, testing and more testing, as this remains the only method to ascertain the success or otherwise of the preventive strategy deployed thus far in the State. 

"So far, since February 27 when the
index case was  recorded in Nigeria, of the almost 25,000 test performed in the nation not more than ten samples (persons) have been tested from Cross River State, to our knowledge," he said 

It is difficult to believe that there are no pistive cases in the testing as the only way to know this was by aggressive testing.

He said :"Such testing profile can only give our current zero-prevalence status a very fragile or artificial picture. We strongly recommend, and encourage active surveillance and testing for Covid-19 in the State.

"we implore the State Government without delay to liaise with NCDC and possibly in partnership with donor agencies such as 54 gene amongst otgers to set up testing centers in the State.

"In this regard, the current facilities at BSL 3 Laboratory at Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital and BSL2 HIV PCR lab at UCTH, Calabar, could be the likely candidates for upgrading or recalibration to function as testing centers for Covid-19. 

"We can unequivocally confirm that
there are more than enough Medical Laboratory Scientists in the state with
requisite RT- PCR testing proficiency, who are quite ready and willing to drive
such facility in the State.

"We are utterly dismayed with a very disturbing practice of transporting clinical specimens from suspected Covid-19 cases in the State by public transport system from collection points to collation center before onward movement to NCDC testing center. 

"We hereby call on the State's Covid 19 Task Force to do the needful by conforming to the universal best practice of assigning an Ambulance or any dedicated utility vehicle for transport of potentially infectious clinical specimens.