The Federal Government said that it wanted to learn from the Chinese experts currently in the country; on how they solved the COVID-19 pandemic in their country.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja. He was speaking at the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 in the country.
Ehanire disclosed that the Nigerian medical teams would begin scientific engagement with the experts. He explained that this would in a few days via video conferencing, while they were quarantined.
Further, the minister revealed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); had earlier inspected the quarters where the experts were being quarantined. Also, he affirmed that the NCDC also had access to inspect whenever they wanted to do so.
“As earlier mentioned, a 16-ton consignment of medical commodities and equipment worth USD 1.5 million arrived Abuja on Wednesday; from Beijing, China, in a Nigeria registered charter flight. It was courtesy of Chinese companies working in Nigeria, along with a 15-member team of medical and technical advisers.
“The equipment includes 50 ventilators and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine; which can be used in worst case scenarios of COVID-19 treatment, when a ventilator is no longer effective. This ECMO machine, the export of which is restricted by many countries, may be the first and only one in Nigeria.
“The personnel from China were screened and tested for COVID-19 before departing their country; but nevertheless have been quarantined for 14 days,” he said.
Ehanire stated that government now had about 10 laboratories across the country able to test for COVID-19.
“NCDC is continually increasing testing capacity; as of today, we have nine laboratories capable of testing for COVID-19. There are two in Abuja: the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Gaduwa; and the Defense Reference Laboratory, Mogadishu Barack, Abuja, and three in Lagos. The NCDC Virology Laboratory in LUTH, the Lagos State Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).
“Others are Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo state; Virology Laboratory of UCH, Ibadan, Oyo state. The Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi state; and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Osun state.
“Additional laboratories in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Sokoto states are set to come on line imminently,” he said.