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21 laboratories now operational for COVID-19 testing nationwide – Health Minister

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MINISTER of Health, Dr. Esagie Ehanire has revealed that 21 Testing Laboratories are now operational nationwide as his Ministry works to drive up demand.

  Ehanire disclosed this at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday in Abuja, stressing that the increased number of laboratories would improve demand for testing.

  “21 laboratories nationwide are now operational for COVID-19 testing, as we work to drive up demand.   The laboratories in Kano were directed to work in shifts, to reduce the turnaround time for testing.

  “The Ministry of Health’s Task Team to Kano is collaborating intimately and fully engaged in remediation activities, strongly emphasising training and capacity building for all personnel, in order to help rebuild manpower in state and Federal health facilities.

  “This includes non-medical personnel such as cleaners, porters and security guards, especially in the   COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres”, Ehanire said.

  According to the minister, the intensive training is essential to minimise the risk of infection of personnel in the line of duty, “which is becoming a major challenge in various parts of Nigeria.”

  Ehanire also said, “We do not have the latitude of having so many essential health workers in treatment or Isolation, and being out of service in these critical times.

  “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control routinely replenishes stocks of personal protective equipment to State Emergency Operations Centres and the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions to ensure that our health workers are protected.”

  The minister appealed to all health professionals and associated personnel, to diligently follow all safety and infection prevention and control protocols both inside and outside health facilities. He further enjoined them not to indulge in unauthorized treatment of COVID-1919 cases.

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