The Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, has reacted to the statement released by the Akwa Ibom state government, disputing the test result released by the agency and demanding a re-take of the test.
Recall that on Wednesday April 1st, the NCDC announced five cases of Coronavirus in Akwa Ibom. The state government in a statement released by its Health Commissioner, Dominic Ukpong today, said they were not informed by the agency of the Coronavirus cases in the state and heard of the five cases over the news like everyone else. Ukpong asked the agency to have a retake of the tests on the five patients. Read here.
However at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja today, the NCDC boss, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said there was no reason for the Akwa Ibom state government to dispute the results.
“I just read the press release of the Commissioner for Health in Akwa Ibom State, and I think it’s a little bit unfortunate because there was some delay in reporting the results to him because the team that lead the lab where these tests were done, were actually on their way to Abuja to carry out an important national assignment.
These tests were done in the Irrua specialist Teaching Hospital. This is our oldest and most experienced lab in carrying out PCR diagnosis. So, there is really no reason to dispute the validity of these results.
We must focus on the challenge at our hands; every new case in a new state always leads to a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept these results and what they are. But they are what they are and I have no reason to doubt the results coming out from any of our labs, especially the Irrua specialist Teaching Hospital.
After every positive case, we will retest anyway, after three or four days because the only way you can know whether people are recovering or not is by retesting them. So, that will be done. I think now, and like I have seen over and over, this is not the time to dispute and doubt especially within government, but to come together.
It is not the time to release press statements against other government bodies, but it is a time to come together. So, this is really my appeal to every state. There is no reason why anyone would give results without verifying.
We are working very hard to make sure that these results are correct; sometimes, we delay in releasing these results, and we get a lot of complaints on why the results are taking so long. It is because the tests are being repeated so that we can be very sure.
But if there is one lab in Nigeria that I can almost be 100 percent sure on the validity of their test, of course they can always be mistake but to have mistaken in 5 results in a lab like Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, will be very unlikely.
I would like to call on everyone in all the state in the country to have confidence in what we are doing. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is not an NCDC-owned lab, but one that we support to make sure that the testing is done appropriately.” he said