By Haruna Gimba
The Lagos State Government says it has conducted about 16, 000 COVID-19 tests at a cost of N640 million to N800 million at N40, 000 to N50, 000 per test.
The state Commissioner of Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who made this known at the Lagos COVID-19 update on Thursday, said that there were plans to ramp up testing capacity to about one thousand tests on a daily basis.
He said that Lagos had conducted the highest number of COVID-19 tests in Nigeria, with four testing laboratories, and planned to increase the testing sites in the coming weeks.
According to him, 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,” the commissioner said.
Abayomi noted that Lagos was in the process of regularising home isolation and treatment for some COVID-19 patients, especially those with mild symptoms of the infection.
The commissioner said that incorporating home isolation was due to increase in the numbers of people avoiding isolation centres and practicing self-treatment at various places.
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 stigmatising people infected with the virus, saying, “It is not a crime or death sentence.”
According to him, 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.
Lagos is the epicentre of the COVID-19 cases in Nigeria with 2, 970 confirmed cases, 2,261 are active cases, 649 discharged, two evacuated from Nigeria, 16 transferred to Ogun and Ondo, while 42 deaths were recorded.