Federal Govt’s Risk With Private COVID-19 Labs Paid Off – Osinbajo


Osinbajo have revealed that the Federal Government’s risk with private COVID-19 labs paid off.

Federal Govt’s Risk With Private COVID-19 Labs Paid Off - Osinbajo
Yemi Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the risk the Federal Government by integrating private medical laboratories into the country’s COVID-19 response apparatus, especially with regard to testing, has paid off, The Nation report.

He said the sector was witnessing the expansion of testing laboratories across the country – from three to over 140 laboratories – while over 50 of them belong to private medical practitioners.

Recognising the huge impact of the private sector on the country’s public health preparedness, especially with the menacing third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Osinbajo called for more public-private partnerships in the areas of vaccines and diagnostics production.

The Vice-President spoke at the 23rd national conference and annual general meeting (AGM) of the Guild of Private Medical Laboratory Directors (GMLD) in Abuja.

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Represented by the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, he said: “The expansion of the laboratories for COVID-19 testing nationwide from three at the start of the pandemic to now over 140 with the inclusion of private laboratories has been a significant contribution to preserving the health of Nigerians.

“The inclusion of the private sector was initially considered a risk. But thanks to the proactive leadership of NCDC and the support from the Presidential Task Force and, of course, the delivery of private medical laboratories, this risk has paid off.

“Diagnostics have continued to play a vital role in our ability to detect COVID-19 cases and have enabled us to mount an effective response to the outbreak.

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“The efficient and smooth operations of medical laboratories in the country are dependent on the leadership, planning and commitment of you all here today.

“I applaud how far we have all come, and the strides we have made in reducing the spread of Coronavirus. However, we must remember that the pandemic has unfortunately caused over 180,000 confirmed cases, and over 2,000 deaths here in the country, and we are currently experiencing a new surge of infections.”

He added: “One area which needs more focus and one which the pandemic has shown to be crucial to bridging gaps and providing for the needs of our population is public-private partnerships.

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“The pandemic continues to emphasise the urgent need for innovation and action, in vaccine manufacturing and in-vitro diagnostics, not just in Nigeria but across the continent of Africa.

“Vaccine manufacturing capacity in Nigeria would greatly impact the national response to COVID-19 and other diseases. This cannot be left to the government alone.”