The College of Nigerian Pathologists (CNP) has expressed concern over the inadequate number of Covid-19 testing centres in the country.
It therefore called on the federal government to, as a strategy to accelerate control of the outbreak, decentralise the testing centres across the country.
In a statement signed by its President, Professor P. O. Olatunji, in Abuja, Friday, the group said: “The CNP notes with concern the inadequacy of testing centres across the country and urges governments to substantially decentralize the testing centres as a strategy to accelerate the control of the outbreak.
“We do not see any reason why our tertiary health care centres where competent pathologists and medical laboratory scientists are situated, cannot carry out COVID-19 tests.
“We urge the Federal and State governments to deploy a portion of the COVID-19 budget to bridge whatever deficiencies exist in our tertiary diagnostic laboratories.”
The CNP equally warned the federal government against the procurement of test kids that may not be appropriate for accurate diagnosis.
“We are aware of the advertisement of a few rapid serological test kits being touted for the diagnosis of COVID-19, and some are already showing interest.
“In the first instance, many of these kits are antibody-based and may not be appropriate for accurate diagnosis. “Secondly, they are not validated, hence their sensitivity and specificity are unknown.
“While we caution against using these test kits, we recommend that an in-country evaluation could be done for some that are said to be antigen-based.
“We are of the view that anything that can positively contribute to the control of the pandemic should be embraced.
“While we recommend that at these critical moment, diagnostic utility should employ the NCDC recommended Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), we call for a more innovative and quicker diagnostic approach,” the group noted.
While warning against the possible abuse of Chloroquine arising from its purported usefulness in treating COVID-19 infection, the group however, condemned in strong terms the sudden increase in the prices of Chloroquine, face masks, hand gloves, and sanitizer, which are essential for protection and prevention of the population.
The Pathologists, therefore advised Nigerians not to panic, but to adhere to all preventive and protective instructions which include “washing of hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available; do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing, and stay at home when you feel sick.”