By Asmau Ahmad
Nigeria has expanded its public health response capabilities and is making progress in the public health sector after the nation’s first COVID-19 case last year.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa, Abuja, where he underwent a facility tour.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora; and the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
He noted that the country has a critical situation currently with the increasing number of cases being recorded. However, he added that a lot of progress had been made since Nigeria’s first case was reported in February, 2020.
“We have activated nearly 120 laboratories nationwide, 70 of them public laboratories and we have significantly ramped up our testing and case management capacity.
“We have expanded the footprint of our sovereign public health response capabilities especially at the subnational level and in areas where previously such capabilities did not exist.
“Not so long ago, test samples had to be flown out of the country for examination. This is no longer the case as we now have the capacity to process samples internally” he said.
Prof. Osinbajo observed that such an achievement should not be taken for granted, “But one that we are determined to consolidate on.
“This very facility is a testament to the strides that we have made during a short period. While we are not yet where we want to be as a nation, we are most certainly not where we were at the onset of the pandemic.”
The Vice President commended public and private healthcare specialists and in the line of duty for ensuring the safety, cure and prevention of majority of Nigerians from the COVID-19 virus, sometimes under extremely challenging circumstances.