The Rivers Government has inaugurated Coronavirus testing at the molecular laboratory of the State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr Friday Aaron, said that the lab came on stream to assist the State to fight coronavirus pandemic.
He said the testing would be a coordinated exercise aimed at heightening the fight against coronavirus.
The RSUTH COVID-19 Testing Centre is functioning with two PCR Machines donated by Shell Petroleum Development Company and the third machine from Total Exploration and Production.
The event took place on Friday evening.
Aaron said: “This evening we are here to celebrate, because it has been our goal to get a testing centre in Rivers State.
“Today, I am happy to announce that we can now do COVID-19 tests at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital courtesy of the Rivers State Government.
“We also thank our partners, SPDC and Total, who have continued to work with us to fight coronavirus.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), were here to install and activate the PCR machines.
“Since yesterday, we started running tests and by this evening, we will have results come from our lab.
“The good thing is that we have three PCR Machines that will serve Rivers people.
“We also have edge over other states because we received a donation of over 3,000 test kits and we have kits that came with the machines.
“In this Hospital, we had a state of the art molecular laboratory before now. That lab we use it for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
“The NCDC had said that for COVID-19 testing we should get another laboratory. We have been able to meet up that request.
“It is undergoing safety checks and we’ll then get the approval of the NCDC to start collecting samples.’’
The CMD, however, said that people were not expected to come to the laboratory as samples would be collected from the State Treatment Centre at Eleme and the State Ministry of Health.
Okoli Innocent, a Biomedical Engineer at NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory, said that the officials were in the state to install and activate the laboratory.
“We are very happy with the progress the State has made in setting up of this lab.
“We are confident that this lab can handle the challenge of testing for COVID-19.
“We have three PCR Machines that can test 270 samples a day,’’ he said.
Dr Akinwumi Fajola, Regional Community Health Manager, SPDC-JV, expressed happiness at the setting up of the coronavirus test lab in the state
He said: “We are very excited about what is happening here especially for the people of Rivers.
“We are partnering the Rivers State Government and we have been able to donate two PCR machines which are now at work at the RSUTH.
“We have also provided test kits, we have provided RNA extraction test kits and all those things that will help the molecular biology testing in this laboratory.
“We are excited about this facility. I am happy about the infection prevention and control at this facility.’’