The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) unveiled a brand new Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine, which has been procured using some of the £661,000 UKAid funding commitment that the British Government has made to the Nigeria branch of WHO this year.
The PCR machine, which is the most accurate laboratory method for detecting, tracking and studying the coronavirus, will enhance the NCDC’s COVID-19 testing capabilities in Nigeria, increasing the nation’s capacity to carry out at least 3,000 tests per day.
The machine was presented to the NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the Immunisation Team Lead and current Officer-in-Charge of WHO Nigeria, Dr. Fiona Braka, at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) a campus of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Lagos Sunday.
According to the UK, its government and the Federal Government of Nigeria have been collaborating in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria since January 2020.
The UK divulged that it has been working closely with authorities across Nigeria, including the NCDC, to support preparedness, planning and wider public health response efforts to contain the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, the UK’s response is aligned with the Government of Nigeria’s efforts at both the National and State levels. The UK has been supporting Nigerian authorities with technical assistance, direct financing and by flexing our existing health portfolio to help with Nigeria’s preparedness, planning and public health response at both the national and local level to respond, combat and curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the donation of the PCR machine to the NCDC, the British High Commissioner representative at the event, Karl Holmes said, “The procurement of this new PCR machine complements the UK Government’s ongoing financial and technical support to Nigeria.”
He continued that the PCR machine is meant for the provision of diagnostic reagents and consumables, Biosafety training and certifications through our International Health Regulations (lHR) Strengthening Project led by Public Health England.
Holmes added: “We hope this machine and other support will contribute to the wider efforts to strengthen testing in Nigeria.
“These efforts have been steadily expanding over the last few weeks and we welcome this progress. The UK remains committed to continuing our support to this and other pillars of the response.”
Reacting to the donation, the NCDC DG: “We are glad to be getting such huge support and technical advice from our partners including the UK Governments’ Department for International Development (DFID).”
According to Ihekweazu the new PCR Machine, which is a small part of our bigger testing strategy, will help them drive towards their goal to test over two million people over the next three months.
He averred: “This laboratory will now be able to play an even bigger role to help us meet this target.”
Meanwhile, the UK government commended the efforts by all partners in response to the COVID -19 pandemic so far.
“We look forward to continuing our work in partnership with our government and international colleagues to address this outbreak as swiftly as possible and ensure health and prosperity for Nigerians and particularly for those who are most vulnerable and at risk,” Holmes said.Follow us on social media