Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says a major problem in Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 was solved after he tweeted at the weekend.
Ihekweazu had come under criticism on Sunday when he took to Twitter to announce that the NCDC was in desperate need of RNA kits.
RNA is a critical component to identify and test for the presence of a virus. The kits are used for extractions.
At the presidential task force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Ihekweazu said after his tweet, some persons reached out to him and the problem was solved.
He said some Nigerians who had the kits in their warehouse gave it to his agency for free, wondering how he could have known they had it if he did not solicit help.
“There are supply chain challenges in things coming into the country now. It’s not a surprise to anyone, because this is a consequence of the situation we are in and the global demand for the same things,” he said.
“So, these were things that we had ordered and we were in the process of coming but we suddenly ran out of them. So, rather than shut down a network of 15 labs in the country, I put out that tweet and while we got a lot of criticism which I expected, something beautiful happened.
“People came back and solved that problem. People that I had no idea where they were, came in and brought those extraction kits. Some of them offered to give it to us for free, they had it in their warehouses, yes in Nigeria here.
“So, in every adversity, this country will continue to surprise you by its spirit, its people and its ingenuity in terms of how to solve that problem. I took in all the criticism on social media in good faith because I solved the most important problem, to get our labs working again.”
He said at the moment, the country has the capacity to test for about 50, 000 but every new lab comes with logistics, especially challenges of sample collection.
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