The youngest member of the House of Representatives, Mansur Manu Soro, has insisted that with the recent financial intervention by the President Mohammadu Buhari-led government for fight against Covid-19 in the country, there is no justification for each state not to have a testing a centre.
In a statement he personally signed, Manu Soro warned that: “Battling Coronavirus is akin to war-like situation and the authorities must treat it as such.
“With the financial intervention of N6.5 billion (in two payment installments) to NCDC by President Buhari and an average-monthly allocations of N6billion each to States/LGAs, there ‘ll be no justification whatsoever for Nigerians not to have a minimum of one testing centre per State.”
It would be recalled that Nigeria previously had only 5 testing centres in the country. One was however, added and announced by the Ministry of Health, on Saturday, making the total testing centres to 6.
Most worrisome, however, the only one centre in the entire 19 northern states of the country is located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In a statement yesterday, the Federal Ministry of Health, disclosed that the latest testing centre is located at the University College Hospital (UHC), Ibadan.
“We now have 6 functional laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID19, latest at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
“We are working to expand testing capacity. The World Health Organsisation (WHO) has supported through the training of medical personnel,” the statement noted.
The other five centres are located at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, Lagos, Irua Teaching Hospital, Edo and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) National Reference Laboratory, Abuja
However, the House of Representative member, Manu Soro, in his letter addressed to the NCDC Director General, said: “Despite its proximity to mainland China, Taiwan has become a world model in the fight against Covid-19 largely through aggressive testing.
“Taiwan as at 28/03/2020 has mere 283 cases of which 241 were imported and 42 believed to be local infections. This is achieved through massive testing and isolating of patients with virtually no large-scale lockdowns.
“It’s therefore disturbing to understand that despite confirmation by authorities of cases of Covid-19 in Bauchi, Benue and Kaduna states, the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) and indeed the affected states government are yet to make available testing kits in the whole northern region with the exception of FCT.
“The biggest lesson to learn from the COVId-19 pandemic is that delay in taking proactive measures by governments come at a huge cost.
“Today Italy and Spain are paying the price for their failures to enforce restriction on social gathering and allowing the February 19th football champions league game to hold in Milan, Italy with an estimated 43,000 viewers from Spain, Bergamo and surrounding towns- an opportunity that provided for a strong spread of the virus. The resultant effect today is 889 deaths within 24 hours in Italy shooting the death toll to 10,023 and 832 in Spain with 5,690 death toll.
“It’s therefore incumbent on relevant authorities particularly the NCDC and State Governments in the region (particularly those with established cases) to rise to the challenge and perform their primary duties of safeguarding the lives of Nigerian people.”