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Is Ogun State mobile laboratory first in Africa?

Image Credit: Innovation Village 2 mins read

Noimot Salako, Ogun state deputy governor claimed her state deployed Africa’s first mobile COVID-19 testing lab.

Without doubt, Ogun State procured the first COVID19 mobile laboratory in Nigeria, but not in Africa.

Full Text

As the ongoing struggle to curb the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, the need to establish testing laboratories has become apt as the virus spreads to nations of the world. 

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is not left out in this battle against the pandemic after recording about 4,000 infections from covid-19 that affect a total of 34 of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Meanwhile, on April 28, 2020, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control announced that it had increased the number of testing laboratories for coronavirus to 17.

This development is coming after the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Noimot Salako, took to her Twitter handle to announce the launch of a new ‘mobile laboratory’ in Ogun; established, with support from 54gene and NCDC, to fight the pandemic. 

A mobile laboratory is a laboratory that is either fully housed within or transported by a vehicle equipped to carry out COVID-19 infections testing or serve other related functions in designated areas of the state.

Verification

On March 26 2020, CNBC Africa reported that the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat deployed mobile laboratories and testing kits in partner States. 

“The Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health held a video conference to swiftly augment containment strategies to prevent and stop any further spread of the deadly disease in the region.

“The meeting came after confirmed COVID-19 cases in four of  EAC’s six partner states, with the affected states embarking on a number of strategies to address the outbreak at national levels.
The Senior Public Relations Officer at the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department with the EAC Secretariat, Mr Peter Owaka, said at EAC Arusha Headquarters that each partner state will receive a four-wheel vehicle.
The vehicles are fitted with laboratory and ICT equipment, as well as all the necessary consumables for a fully functional laboratory with the capacity to conduct tests for Ebola and coronavirus in addition to other pathogens.”

Also, on April 9, the United Nations web ‘Africa Renewal’ reported the launch by South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, of 60 new mobile laboratories to boost the country’s capacity to test for COVID-19.

“Speaking at the launch, Mkhize said the mobile testing units, which are uniquely-fitted vans, have been equipped to carry out the same function as a laboratory.”

“They will focus on sampling a range of specimens for PCR tests…These mobile units will also be used for rapid test kits when these become available,” Mkhize said.

Conclusion 

Without doubt, Ogun State procured the first COVID19 mobile laboratory in Nigeria, but not in Africa. Nonetheless, the establishment of mobile laboratories is not novel. Several other countries had deployed them before Ogun adopted the initiative to test their citizens.

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