The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued guidelines for private laboratories to carry out COVID-19 tests.
Speaking on Monday at the presidential task force briefing, Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the NDDC, said the guidelines will be made available on the agency’s website.
He said private laboratory facilities will be supported to help in conducting more tests.
“We have now come up with guidelines for integrating the private sector into COVID-19 testing,” Ihekweazu said.
“So, every private sector lab that wants to join can pick up the COVID-19 testing guidelines that we will upload on our website tonight, look through it and define what they need to do and we will support them through that process.
“This is one bit of the changes we continue to make in our response to the pandemic.”
According to the guidelines entitled ‘Integration of Private Sector Laboratories in National COVID-19 Response’, the agency said tests should be conducted free for patients where feasible.
“A memorandum of understanding (MOU) may be signed between the state and the private sector that provides details of cost implications and operational support. As part of its national mandate,” the agency said.
“All private sector laboratories should have valid registration with relevant national and state level authorities to perform diagnostic testing.
“All staff working within the facilities should be appropriately trained and registered with appropriate national bodies.
“Where feasible, testing should be conducted at no cost to the patient. If private patients are charged for diagnostic tests, it should be at cost with no additional charges.
“NCDC will commit to supply reagents and extraction kits for continued operations.
“Assessment of facilities to be conducted by NCDC staff and other relevant stakeholders. Provide all infrastructure needs to ensure 24-hour operations, 7 days a week.”
In April, Ihekweazu said the agency would partner other donors and the private sector to roll out mass testing for COVID-19 by May.
On Thursday, the director-general said the country has tested more than 22,000 persons for COVID-19.
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