THE Chief Medical Director (CMD), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, Anambra State, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe has faulted the lack of COVID-19 test centers in the state.
In a reaction to the death of the Provost, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Prof. Okwudili Udemezue of complications from diabetes and COVID-19 last week, Igwegbe said that the absence of test centres make early diagnosis and management of COVID-19 cases difficult.
The NAUTH CMD confirmed in an interview that Udemezue was admitted on June 21 after presenting symptoms of COVID-19 and other related condition and his blood sample was sent to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State for analysis the next day.
He said: “Our laboratory scientist is still in Edo waiting to collect the result, because Anambra has no test centre yet. It is unfortunate that despite all our effort to save the Provost, he died. The result is still being expected this weekend.
“The pressure on the Irrua Test Centre – from Edo, Delta, Anambra Bayelsa, Imo, Abia, Rivers states was overwhelming and the samples are trapped there for many days, resulting in dire consequences like in this case.
“Though the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has approved Accunalysis Centre, a private establishment for COVID-19 tests but it has not been activated because the necessary Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to kick-start it has not been perfected by the Anambra State Government and the owners.”
On the slow process of establishing more test centres nationwide, Igwegbe said that the required machines, consumables and manpower are very expensive and sophisticated.
He said it is reason only few of the specialized test centres were able to meet the stringent requirements and approved by the NCDC.
While urging for the adoption of more aggressive testing, isolating and treating of cases nationwide to stem the observed present spiking of cases, Igwegbe said that each of the 36 states in Nigeria should have at least one center by now.
The professor dismissed the possibility of closing down the College of Health Sciences where the late Prof Udemezue held forth before his demise, if his result confirm eventually that it was COVID-19.
But he noted that the hospital wants to embark of contact tracing of all those family members, medical and non-medical staff, other patients and visitors who came in close contact with him without knowing his status.