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COVID-19: Private sector led initiative to provide test supplies

COVID-19: Private sector led initiative to provide test supplies

The private sector led initiative, Coalition Against COVID-19 says it has ordered for 250,000 supplies for tests and another 150,000 extraction kits to increase its molecular testing as part of efforts to contain corona virus in the country.

During a press briefing in Lagos, the private sector -led coalition said no fewer than 1.7 million households would benefit from its food relief package.

This, it said, would be part of complementary efforts to help alleviate the effects of the lockdown and restrictions adopted by governments across the nation. A PUNCH  reports states.

While reiterating its commitment to support the Federal Government in the COVID-19 fight, representatives of the coalition said it had set up isolation centres in five states which are Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Borno and Enugu as well as the Federal Capital Territory, while renovations of hospitals and medical supplies were being carried out in other states.

This, it said, would be part of complementary efforts to help alleviate the effects of the lockdown and restrictions adopted by governments across the nation.

While reiterating its commitment to support the Federal Government in the COVID-19 fight, representatives of the coalition said it had set up isolation centres in five states which are Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Borno and Enugu as well as the Federal Capital Territory, while renovations of hospitals and medical supplies were being carried out in other states.

he Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, explained that all the partners in CACOVID were ready to roll out in all parts of the country having commenced building and equipping of isolation centres in some states.

According to her, there were currently three testing platforms for molecular testing in Nigeria, one of which was the ‘Open PCR machines’, which the coalition had ordered for 10 units, with eight laboratories certified to conduct COVID-19 tests.

Youssoufou said, “Open PCR machine is currently the standard platform.

“Eight labs in Nigeria are certified to conduct COVID-19 testing; 10 new PCR machines and 150,000 extraction kits have been ordered.

“The other is Roche Cobus Platform with six machines in Nigeria, each capable of conducting 960 tests at a time.

“Nigeria was on track to receive 38,000 but we have ordered 250,000.

“10,000 tests ordered by UNICEF have arrived on Thursday, April 16.

“We also have Cepheid Gene Expert Machines – there are 400 machines installed in the country.

“250 are expected to be functional with trained lab technicians. Cepheid has developed a COVID-19 testing cartridge that has received FDA approval, and will begin shipping to Africa in two weeks.

“We have ordered 250,000 cartridges and expect shipment receipt in two weeks.”

The Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, who said the CACOVID-19 was approaching the fight against the virus from three levels, added that it was clear from beginning that no one institution could do it alone, and that was why  everybody’s cooperation was needed in tackling the scourge.

He,however, stated that while several measures were being taken to stop the spread, including lockdowns, restriction, social distancing, there was the need to address hunger.

“How do we cater to the feeding needs of the people if these measures are to be effective?,” he asked.

Wigwe explained that the third level was how to tackle the post-pandemic aspect.

He said, “A lot of businesses have been badly affected and economies have been disrupted.

“How do we get them back to life after we might have defeated the corona virus?”

While explaining the modalities to be adopted to get the food relief materials to the targeted households, he said it would be done from the bottom of the pyramid, through the 774 local government areas where the CACOVID partners would be assigned to deliver the materials.

The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr Ferdi Moolman, urged other private sector organizations which were yet to identify with CACOVID in the onerous task to join hands and make their modest contributions.

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