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Use of RDT kits for covid19 test is illegal in Lagos – Abayomi

Prof. Akin Abayomi

The use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits for COVID19 testing in Lagos is illegal until we can validate RDT kits that actually work, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has reiterated.

Prof. Akin Abayomi

Abayomi who stated this today at a news briefing on COVID19Lagos Response explained that RDT kits have a very high risk of giving false positive or negative results which could be traumatizing for citizens.

“In the event that a false positive result is given, a potentially negative person will be subjected to trauma, isolation and treatment like a positive patient”

“And in the event that a false negative is given, a potentially positive person is allowed to continue to roam freely in the community regardless of his positive status and as a result of the above, the use of RDT kits is illegal until Lagos State can validate RDT kits that actually work”, he stated.

The Commissioner explained that the State Government had considered the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits as part of the strategies to expand its testing capacity but noted however that none of the RDT kits submitted for validation passed the validation test.

Said he: “In order to expand our testing capacity, we considered the use of RDT Kits and to facilitate the quick validation of the RDT Kits and reduce the barrier of entry for proposed manufacturers and supplier of RDT Kits, Mr. Governor paid the validation fees for the RDT kits. However, upon review of the several RDT kits that were submitted for validation, we can report that none of the RDT kits passed the validation exercise”

While noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet declared any RDT kit useful for public use, Abayomi stated that it is also illegal for private health facilities to test or manage COVID19 cases without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities.

“It has come to our attention that several laboratories and health facilities are testing and managing COVID patients without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities”

“Two laboratories were sealed as a result of this. We will continue to closely monitor all facilities that partake in these illegal activities and endanger the lives of all residents of Lagos State and instigate punitive measures to ensure they desist from such activities”, the Commissioner said.

He disclosed that only seven private laboratories have been accredited by the State government adding that the second phase of accreditation and validation of laboratories will be conducted when the demand arises.

Abayomi added that the State Government has also only accredited three private facilities and is currently in the process of accrediting more including general practitioners and small clinics that are interested in partaking in the soon to be launched community-based and home-based care program.

“It is important to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency and the Lagos State Government has adopted a central planning approach to managing its response”, he opined.

The Commissioner also disclosed that plans are in top gear by the State government to scale up sample collection at the 20 LGAs to 57 LCDAs in order to improve the efficiency of sample collection in the community. He added that residents will have access to free oxygen therapy at some of the centres if required while arrangements will be made to transfer such a person to a COVID19 Centre.

Abayomi disclosed that the State government will in the next couple days transition to the next phase of the COVID19 response which he referred to as the community-based care.

According to him, community based care is the inclusion of Home care into the State strategic response. “Under the community-based care arrangement, we provide the opportunity for mild-to-moderate cases being managed and isolated at home in situations where this is allowed. However, our critical-to-severe cases will be continually managed in our COVID19 isolation centres, where they will have the opportunity of the best treatment available”

He stated that a date for the commencement of home-based care will formally be announced. He however noted that vulnerable, elderly and severe-to-critically ill patients will be managed at the Isolation centres, where they can receive the best possible care available.

Giving epidemiology statistics on COVID19 cases in Lagos State, the Commissioner said that over 56,276 COVID19 tests have been conducted so far while the total number of positive COVID19 cases stands at 13,543. He added that out of the 2,476 COVID19 patients have so far been admitted, 2,075 have been discharged to reunite with the society after recovery.

Abayomi added that no fewer than 9,066 confirmed COVID19 cases monitored in the communities by the COVID19Lagos response teams have either recovered or positively responding to treatments. He however noted that 192 COVID19 related deaths have been recorded in Lagos.

He disclosed that Eti-Osa Local Government has the highest number of confirmed COVID19 cases adding that Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Kosofe, Ikeja and Oshodi account for 60% of the total COVID19 cases in Lagos State.

Commenting on COVID19Lagos community engagement, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, emphasized the need for citizens to wear face masks correctly especially in public places to curtail the spread of the virus.

While noting that the State government remains committed to securing the lives of citizens, he disclosed that necessary precautions and guidelines stipulated by professionals will be taken before schools and religious centres will be opened. He added that government will not take risks with public health issues.

“Some of the report we are getting is not too good that people do not want to wear face masks. What we are dealing with is a very dangerous enemy that has no remedy anywhere in the world. Humanity is just trying to curtail this terrible situation.

“Proper use of face marks will reduce the possibility of an infection. I therefore would like to urge citizens to take responsibility on proper use of face masks and not to wait until they are enforced before they use face masks.

“On reopening of schools and religious institutions, I assure you that schools and religious institutions  will be opened  as soon as the go ahead is given. We have to wait for the professionals so that we do not put ourselves in trouble. The state remains committed to securing lives and properties of lagosians”, he said.

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