As part of the State Government’s effort to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, Dr. Vincent Okpala, Anambra State Commissioner for Health recently announced the approval and commencement of Covid-19 testing at General Hospital Onitsha, Anambra State, with the possibility of extension to nine others across the state.
This was made known by the Commissioner during the Meet-The-Media interactive session held at Chief Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.
According to Dr. Okpala, Governor Willie Obiano made it a priority to ramp up the state testing capacity by ensuring the procurement of the Bsl2 or Bsl3 cabinet necessary for the upgrade and activation of the Gene expert platform hitherto used for tuberculosis testing at General Hospital, Onitsha, thus making it the first of such test Centre in the country.
Furthermore, he explained that the state has a total of nine Gene expert platforms which can be upgraded to conduct Coronavirus testing. The Gene Expert machine has the capacity for testing four test runs in 45minutes but you need the Bsl2 or Bsl3 cabinet which is a very important component because it helps prevent the disease from spreading all over the place.
In his words, “His Excellency the Governor graciously approved the procurement of the Bsl2 or Bsl3 cabinet and few other things which were installed at the Onitsha General Hospital and this is the first and currently only Secondary health care facility testing for Covid-19 in the country’’.
As a matter, the gene expert platform can take 4 tests per run but that run will take just 45 minutes -1 hour for the result to be ready. To this end, doctors can make decision faster. This is the beauty of the new center.
Prior to the setting up and approval of the General Hospital Onitsha Gene expert Covid-19 test center by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Anambra State was already testing with Abbot machine at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH) Amaku Awka. The Abbot machine can spin out 96 tests in a run but it takes up to 8 hours to determine the result.