The Akwa Ibom state Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN branch has advised the state government to upscale existing genexpert (tuberculosis) testing machines in the state to enable it to begin testing of COVID-19 infection immediately.
Chairman of the association Mrs Emilia Eleazar gave the advice yesterday when she led members of her team to donate Personal Protective Equipments, (PPEs) to Infectious Disease Hospital Ikot Ekpene, Ibom Specialist Hospital (ISH); University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, (UUTH), and Methodist General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, Uruan local government.
According to Eleazar, stressed that the 13 Genexpert Machines and a real-time PCR machine which the state already has could be upgraded and used to start the COVID-19 testing, noting that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is upscaling those machines in other states for COVID-19 testing while waiting to buy new machines.
“In order to expedite action, I will like the state government to upscale the existing machines while also waiting to bring in the new ones.
It will help kick start testing in the state immediately” she said The AMLSN Chairman added that the state needed a Bio-safety cabinet for sample collection and transfer for the aggressive collection of samples.
She assured the state of the readiness of her team to play its role of sample collection for COVID-19, adding that, “the role of Medical Laboratory Scientist in the diagnosis of COVID-19 cases can not be overemphasized”.
Receiving the PPEs on behalf of the COVID- 19 Response team at Ibom Specialist Hospital, the state Epidemiologist, Dr Aniekeme Uwah appreciated the association for the support and its critical role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. “The support and cooperation the COVID-19 response team has got from this association as far as sample collection for COVID-19 testing is concerned has remained invaluable”. He said.
Similarly, at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr Emem Basswy thanked the association and urged them to also ensure they protect themselves while carrying out their humanitarian services.