Lagos State has conducted 16,000 tests since the outbreak of coronavirus, the highest test done by any state in Nigeria, its commissioner for health has said.
Akin Abayomi said this at a press briefing on Thursday. He said Lagos is doing more in the area of tests and has plans to increase its tests to 1,000 per day.
“Lagos is testing a lot compared to other states in Nigeria because we also have more of a background of molecular testing compared to other states.”
Mr Abayomi said the state has four established laboratories, which are testing sites for COVID-19 and the state is hoping to double the testing centres in the coming weeks.
As of the moment, the laboratories run three shifts per day and conduct a total number of 800 tests, but the state is ramping up its capacity and would soon be testing 1,000 per day, the commissioner said.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a total number of 40,043 tests have been conducted in Nigeria as of Wednesday. Out of this number, 16,000 tests were reportedly carried out in Lagos, which is about 40 per cent of the total tests conducted in Nigeria.
Mr Abayomi added that since there is a shortage of reagents around the world, “but scientists in Lagos have been very innovative, and have locally manufactured two out of three reagents needed to carry out the COVID-19 molecular tests”.
“This has taken off the pressure of importing reagents that are already scarce,” he said.
He added the third reagent is harder to make, but some institutions are already working on how to produce them.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the state would carry out about 120,000 tests in the next two months.
Although, with the current testing capacity of the state, it is unlikely to reach the governor’s target in two months.
Speaking on the cost of testing, Mr Abayomi said the government is providing testing free of charge for all citizens but that the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.
He said going forward, the government would look for options to subsidise the tests either through insurance or donations from developmental partners.