The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is collaborating with relevant agencies to develop research evidence that would inform the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General (D-G) of the NCDC, made the disclosure on Thursday in Abuja during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Ihekweazu said that the team of collaborators had launched the Nigeria COVID-19 Research Consortium.
He said that the collaborators included NCDC and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
He said that by bringing in indigenous experts and scientists, there would be better guidance in the nation’s response to COVID-19, as it applied to the context.
The director-general disclosed that the agency had so far tested over 200,000 samples for COVID-19.
According to Ihekweazu, the centre currently has 54 testing facilities across 27 states and was working to bring testing centres closer to Nigerians.
Ihekweazu said that the process of getting test results would be expedited and achieved through the online portal being set up to enable individuals to access their results on their own.
“We have carried out over 200,000 tests across the country, and by far, most people get their results on time.
“We now have testing facilities in 54 centres in 30 of 36 plus one states,” he said.
He said that the agency would not bypass the states since they were the custodians of the public health response
He promised that the NCDC would continue to improve on the process and the response time.
“The major factor driving the delay is not in the testing, it is in the process and from getting the result from the laboratory to the individual.
“We don’t want to bypass the states because the states are really the custodians of the public health response.
“What we are trying to do is: we have been working on a new platform so that people would be able to check their results themselves; that platform is nearly ready,” he said.
Ihekweazu disclosed that a lab, which was shut down for decontamination in Ebonyi, had been reopened, adding that the agency’s desire was to ensure that the people had a better experience.