BY MARY KUYE
Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Professor. Akin Abayomi has said that each test conducted for a COVID-19 patient cost about N40,000 to N50,000.
”For now, the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.”
He also disclosed on Thursday that it has spent at least N800 million in conducting 16,000 COVID-19 tests in the state.
Abayomi gave this revelation while briefing newsmen on COVID-19 weekly situation report, held in Press Centre, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
His words: “We have so far performed 16,000 COVID-19 tests in Lagos, which is much higher than anywhere else in Nigeria.
“We are planning to test up to about 1,000 people per day very soon in the next month or two we are going to be ramping up our capacity to test.
“For now the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.
“But as we ramp up our testing we are going to try and use some means of subsidy for the test, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or from development partners to help us to subsidize the test.
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“For now the state government is providing COVID-19 testing free of charge and all citizens who need to be tested for COVID-19 either because they are not feeling well or had a close contact can get it done free of charge at any of our COVID-19 testing sites on the four laboratories,” the commissioner said.
He added that the state government was in the process of conducting a clinical trial on hydroxychloroquine and “with the solidarity trial the state is participating in, two months from now we (Lagos) should get information on the drug either as preventive or cure.”
Abayomi added that the government has listed some of the centres where the hydroxy Chloroquine trials would conduct with consideration for various dietary supplements that can boost or improve the immune system to resist the virus.
According to him, the spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos was due to the increase in its testing capacity.
“The state government has decentralised sample collection centres with about 20 sample collection sites across the metropolis,” he stated.
Abayomi also stated that in order to ramp up testing, the state government has concluded plans to integrate the concept of home-based care of COVID 19, even as he urged residents to be available for test, and warned against the stigmatisation of COVID-19 patients.
As part of preventive measures against the spread of the virus, the commissioner urged citizens to always use standard face masks in the public always, and in the event of exhibiting any symptom, they should quickly, present themselves early for treatment.
Abayomi who attributed most of the recorded death cases to late reports noted that though, Lagos and Kano have the same demography, Lagos was recording more cases of COVID-19 because it was doing more testing than Kano.
“While Lagos has four testing laboratories running for almost three months now and doing three shifts, Kano has just one laboratory which is yet to properly kick-off because of some initial teething problems,” the commissioner said.