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NCDC raising number of laboratories to enhances disease response capacity – official



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says it is increasing the number of laboratories to enhance capacity for response to outbreak of infectious disease.

Its Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that laboratory information was critical for infectious disease surveillance and its control.

“Before an outbreak, laboratory-supported surveillance allows early detection of cases. During an outbreak, sample of cases will be taken to the laboratory for tests to assess changes in the etiological agent and to guide decisions about the allocation of resources,” he explained.

The NCDC boss said that laboratory information must be accurate, timely and subjected to quality assurance procedures for response to outbreaks.

He said that the centre had continued to work closely with stakeholders toward improving knowledge on infectious diseases through research activities and epidemiological studies.

“One of these efforts is the collaboration with the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST), to identify other pathogens that may be causing illnesses similar to Lassa fever,” he said.

The NCDC boss shared the vision and priorities of the centre, especially in strengthening the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) which, he said, was fully integrated within the NCDC.

According to him, NFELTP has remained an avenue for building the capacity of public health professionals and leaders in the field of epidemiology.

“Sharing their work and experience with the global health community will play a critical role in preventing, detecting and responding to epidemics and infectious disease outbreaks,” he explained.

Ihekweazu stated that the centre, supported by the Robert Koch Institute, was setting up a sentinel surveillance system for Hepatitis E in Nigeria.

He however, said that the National Reference Laboratory would serve as the central laboratory for Hepatitis E and Rotavirus diagnosis, working with sentinel laboratory in five Nigerian states.

“This means that we will identify sites that will collect samples from patients who present clinical symptoms similar to Hepatitis E, and send to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory for testing and confirmation,” he explained.

He said that another mile stone by the centre with the support from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health was the hosting of a “MiniON” sequencing regional workshop at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory.

The NCDC boss noted that the goal of the workshop was to improve the centre’s understanding of pandemic Vibrio Cholerae in selected West African countries.

According to him, the workshop drew colleagues from Cameroon and Republic of Niger.

The NCDC boss said that the disease control centre was working with the Dentistry Division of the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners to improve awareness and strengthen the surveillance of “Noma” in Nigeria.

“This week, our team is training surveillance officers in Kebbi state.

“We have held a meeting with local government disease surveillance and notification officers to strengthen surveillance of Noma-affected Local Governments Area in Kebbi, using the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response framework,” he said.(NAN)


Edited by Zainab Garba and Ephraims Sheyin



NCDC releases new guidelines on COVID-19 patients’ treatment, discharge



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday announced a new case management guidelines for the treatment and discharge of COVID-19 pandemic patients.

Its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) media briefing in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that the third version of the guidelines was released following the emergence of new science about the duration of infectivity of individual patients.

The director-general said that the guidelines were for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

According to him, symptomatic patients will now be discharged at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least three days without symptoms.

“For asymptomatic patients, they can be discharged 14 days after the first PCR positive test.

“We no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge, with the confidence that you can go home and you are no longer infective or putting family or friends at risk.

“If your symptoms lasts longer, we will wait while managing it,” Ihekweazu said.

He said that physicians were hesitant about the new guidelines, assuring them that the new guidelines was effective.

The NCDC chief said the centre had also removed the use of antivirals and Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from its treatment guidelines.

He said the antivirals would now be used only on trials setting and casually, because its safety was uncertain.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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NCDC records 416 new cases of COVID-19, total infections hit 10,578



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday recorded 416 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, bringing the total number of infections in Nigeria to 10,578.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NCDC on its official twitter handle said that 3,122 out of the  10,578 total infections have been discharged, with 299 losing their lives.

The agency said that 12 new patients were confirmed dead to the virus in the country on Monday.

It explained that most of the fatalities recorded from COVID-19 were cases with other underlying illnesses known as co-morbidities.

It stated that no new state had reported a case in the last 24 hours .

The the health agency’s data showed that Monday’s new cases were spread across 19 states and the FCT, with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 192 cases.

The 416 new cases are reported from 20 states – Lagos (192), Edo (41), Rivers (33), Kaduna (30), Kwara (23), Nasarawa (18), Borno (17), FCT (14), Oyo (10), Katsina (7), Abia (5), Delta (5), Adamawa (4), Kano (4), Imo (3), Ondo (3), Benue(2), Bauchi(2), Ogun (2), Niger (1).

The NCDC said that till date, 10578 cases have been confirmed, 7157 active cases, 3122 cases have been treated and discharged and 299 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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COVID-19: VSF donates video teleconferencing solutions device to NCDC



The Victims Support Fund (VSF) Taskforce on COVID-19 has  donated Video Teleconferencing Solutions Device valued, N31 million to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to facilitate its service delivery.

Video conferencing is a telecommunication gadget used in  bringing people together, face-to-face, no matter where they are.

Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Head of the Taskforce, during the presentation in Abuja on Monday,  said that NCDC was one of the most important government agencies in Nigeria, hence there was need to support its activities.

She said  the idea of donating the device was to aid the NCDC management reach out to its staff faster, considering the role of the centre.

“We realise that the centre needs a strategic communication frame work to reach out to people across all the health care institutions within the federation for urgent response to disease control,” she said.

She also noted that the Chairman of VSF, Gen. TY Danjuma (Rtd) inaugurated the VSF Task Force on COVID-19 so as to provide palliatives to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups around the country.

She also said  the taskforce donated 10 kg bags of rice, beans, maize, garri, 4 litres of vegetable oil and 2kg of salt to many households across four geopolitical zones of the country,  covered so far.

Akerele-Ogunsiji said that 27,000 households across Lagos, Ogun, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba states would be benefiting from the gesture.

She further said the exercise was to mitigate the hardship that Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable, were experiencing at this period of pandemic.

According to her, VSF is committed to sustaining efforts in the global fight against the devastating Coronavirus pandemic.

“It will continue to work to provide succour to victims of insurgency and armed conflicts in Nigeria, especially in the areas of livelihood, recovery, education, protection, infrastructural development as well as research and peace building,” she said.

She said that VSF had so far,  reached out to relevant stakeholders with medical consumables, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and personal protective equipment in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.

“We are also working with the vulnerable, institutions and agencies supporting the government as part of its contribution to national efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

“The taskforce is working closely with all the relevant agencies at the Federal, State and Local Governments to contain the pandemic,” she said.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, NCDC,  appreciated VSF taskforce for reaching out to the centre, saying that the intervention would help the centre facilitate response to disease as it would reduce cost of movement from one place to another.

Ihekweazu noted that the intervention was apt and would actively help the centre to drive its response.

“This particular intervention will be credibly useful for our response considering our role.

According to him, the big task the centre has is coordinating the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the country.

“We have a public health department and emergency operation centre in each of those states, what we try to do is to make sure that we are all alive in the response.

“We provide them with all the support that they need to respond to this outbreak and other outbreak in their states.

“And in order to do that effectively, we need this kind of communication equipment especially now that we cannot travel as often as we want.

“Even when the roads are opened up, it takes a lot to ask the state team to leave their states and come to central location,’’ he said.

He however, was optimistic that the world would not be the same after this Coronavirus outbreak “as far as public health is concerned and we will have to engage more of this communication equipment.

“Because this is exactly what we need at this point in time; a new way of living, a new way of working; where you are constantly in touch with people without actually physically traveling,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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Nigeria records 553 coronavirus cases, highest daily figure – NCDC



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Saturday announced the highest daily figure of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria, with 553 new infections recorded.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 9, 855.

The NCDC, on its official twitter handle said that as of May 30, 12 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 2,856 patients have been treated and discharged.

The NCDC data showed that the cases spread across 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with Lagos accounting for the highest number of 378 infections.

Others reported were; FCT (52), Delta (23), Edo (22), Rivers (14), Ogun (13), Kaduna (12), Kano (9), Borno (7), Katsina (6), Jigawa (5), Oyo (5), Yobe (3), Plateau (3) and Osun (1).

The NCDC noted that the government was working hard to test and treat who may have been infected with COVID-19.

“Please be cooperative  and avoid discrimination against those who have been visited by public health officials. They need your support and care while you aware taking responsibility,” it said.

NAN, reports that the NCDC announced the inclusion of Bauchi State Reference Molecular Laboratory, brings the total number of laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19 in the country to 29.

The other laboratories are;  the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, FCT and Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT.

Virology Laboratory of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State, Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, Lagos State and Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo state

Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos State, Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital, Oyo State and Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Ebonyi.

African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Osun State, National Veterinary Research Institute,Vom, Plateau. Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State, DNA Laboratory, Kaduna State and University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno.

Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training (CARMET), Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, Africa Centre of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, ABU, Zaria, Kaduna State, Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Bayero University Kano, Kano State.

Others are 54gene mobile laboratory, Ogun, 54gene mobile laboratory, Lagos State, 54gene mobile laboratory, Kano State. Mobile laboratory, Delta.

University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital Satelite Molecular Laboratory, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Afriglobal Medicare Laboratory, Ogun and Sahel Centre for Molecular Diagnostics and  Research, Katsina State.

The NCDC said there are more than one laboratories in states like  Edo, Lagos and Kano, while efforts were ongoing to set up laboratories in Kwara and Gombe States.

The health agency said it had a National testing strategy and that was why it was using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), to scale for the COVID-19.

“At the moment, the COVID-19 tests that we report daily are coming from the PCR, they detect the genetic information of the virus, the RNA. That’s only possible if the virus is there and someone is actively infected.

PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen, rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies.

“By detecting viral RNA, which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present, the tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on,” it explained.

Edited By: Tayo /Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Taiwan donates 50,000 medical masks to NCDC



Taiwanese envoy in Nigeria, Amb. Vincent Yang, on Friday donated about 50,000 medical masks to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC).

Yang, while handing over the consignment to the Head of NCDC Lagos office, Mrs Olajumoke Babatunde, said Nigeria would soon receive  another consignment of 100,000 masks from Taiwan.

”The donation of this consignment of about 50,000 medical masks is to support the Nigerian government’s efforts at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

”As we are handing this consignment to the representative of the Lagos office of NCDC, let me express Taiwan’s willingness to share her experience on the control of COVID-19 with Nigeria.

”This first phase of masks are intended to meet the urgent need of masks by frontline medical personel and other relevant groups in the spirit of ‘ Taiwan can help and Taiwan is helping,” he said.

Yang said that Taiwan had so far been able to contain the transmission of the virus and minimise its effects on people and their daily activities.

The representative said that the country had through transparency and honesty, implemented preventive measures through a democratic model of excellence in fighting the virus.

”Having recorded enviable success in the containment of COVID-19, the Island nation has been reaching out to friendly countries to share her successes in the fight against the pandemic.

The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has since April embarked on international humanitarian assistance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

”Taiwan has been donating over 16 million medical masks and other medical supplies to the U.S., Europe and allies,” he said.

Yang expressed Taiwan’s readiness to cooperate with other countries in containing the spread of COVID-19 globally, adding that no country could fight against the pandemic alone.

Mrs Olajumoke Babatunde, Head of NCDC Lagos office, thanked the Taiwanese government for the donation, and promised to communicate the kind gesture to the Director General of NCDC in Abuja.

Babatunde also assured the envoy that with the government’s and centre’s ongoing efforts, Nigeria would soon record great success in containing the virus.

She said that it was imperative for the centre and the Taiwan envoy in Nigeria to develop a synergy for information sharing and exchanges in the near future.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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How many persons living with disabilities affected by Covid-19, group asks NCDC



The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) a non-governmental organisation, has pleaded with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to disclose the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

Mr David Anyaele, the executive director of the group, made the call in Abuja during an online seminar with journalists and heads of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs).

Anyaele said that disclosing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of PWDs would help disability groups and organisations to strategise on ways to minimise the negative impact in various disability communities across the country.

He said that the group was worried over the absence of disability disaggregation of data on Nigeria’s COVID-19 response.

“Not having a disability data on the COVID-19 response means that PWDs may struggle to appreciate governments’ efforts in terms of response to their needs and especially COVID-19 PWDs patients.

“The disclosure of the data can also serve as a more effective way to sensitise PWDs on the virus and possibly enhance compliance to social distancing and other preventive measures,” he said.

Anyaele said that the absence of representatives of PWDs in the COVID-19 Presidential Taskforce (PTF) was a major reason why PWDs and matters concerning disabilities were not effectively tackled.

According to him, the lack of consultation by the PTF with organisations of PWDs on disability related matters, has exposed citizens with disabilities and their families to discrimination during the pandemic.

He urged both the Federal Government and state governments to prioritise PWDs and other vulnerable groups while planning on humanitarian interventions.

He also called for the implementation of the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Kayode Olaitan (NAN)

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NCDC confirms 182 new cases of COVID-19, total active cases now hits 6064



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday recorded 182 new cases of the Coronavirus, (COVID-19), in the country, the total active cases for Nigeria now stand at 6,064.

The NCDC, on its official twitter handle, said that as at May 28, 2020, 182 new confirmed cases and five deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the NCDC said that the new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours in the country.

The center said that this took the country’s total infections to 8,915 out of which 2,592 have been discharged with 259 losing their lives.

The NCDC said that the cases were spread across 15 states and the FCT, with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 111 cases.

It said that till date, 8,915 cases had been confirmed, 2,592 cases discharged and 259 deaths had been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC said that the 182 new cases were reported from 16 states- Lagos (111), FCT (16), Akwa Ibom (10), Oyo (8), Kaduna (6), Delta (6), Rivers (5), Ebonyi (4), Ogun (4), Kano (3), Plateau (2), Gombe (2), Kebbi (1), Kwara (2), Bauchi (1), Borno (1).

NAN reports that Kogi government has rejected the two COVID-19 positive cases announced by the NCDC.

In its daily report of new cases on Wednesday, the NCDC said Kogi had recorded its first two cases.

Only Kogi state and Cross River were previously the only states not to have recorded any case of the virus.

However, during his appearance on Politics Today on Thursday on Channels Television, Kogi state’s Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, described the NCDC reporting process as fraudulent.

“We are completely rejecting such declarations because they do not even conform to the protocols set by the NCDC itself.

“When you look at the history of the cases they declared, the patient was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja for symptoms that were far from COVID-19 symptoms.

“But they were not attended to there and the next thing was to bring them to the National Hospital in Abuja.

”And within a few hours, they were tested, and under 24 hours, the man was declared COVID-19 positive.

“It is fraudulent as far as we are concerned and we are rejecting them in its entirety.”

Meanwhile, the NCDC had earlier maintained that due process was followed in recording the Kogi cases.

At the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday, the Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the Kogi index case was a referral from the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja.

“There is actually no dilemma in the two cases,” he said. “They followed absolutely normal practice.

“A patient that was referred from the Federal Medical Centre to the National Hospital. This is a normal referral pathway when you have a case.

“The physicians in the National Hospital, I don’t have any influence over the work that they do. They suspected COVID-19 based on the clinical symptoms of the patient, asked for a test, and the test came out positive.

“The individual lives in Kogi state and public health response is based on where you live because that’s where your contacts are.

“So this is not controversial in any way.

”Standard practice was followed. Once the results came out, the state’s Epidemiologist was informed that he has to do contact-tracing around this patient.

”It is the state’s responsibility to do that contact-tracing. So we hope they do it. There is nothing actually controversial in any way about this.”

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: NCDC striving to increase PCR capacity for testing across Nigeria – DG



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it is working hard to increase its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) capacity for testing the coronavirus disease outbreak in the country.

The Director-General of the centre, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, announced this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media briefing on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that PCR is a method widely used in molecular biology to rapidly make billions of copies of a specific DNA sample.

It allows scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.

Ihekweazu said that samples being transported to the laboratory were badly packaged and leaking that it made the whole efforts useless.

COVIC-19 has invested 47 million people on sample transportation and we have trained over 8,000 to get this right in the country from the collection of the sample to the laboratories,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the DG said there was no dilemma in the two index COVID-19 cases in Kogi.

He added that the laboratory test for one of the patients, at the National Hospital, was done following standard practice while the patient tested positive.

“Contacts tracing will be carried out.’’

Ihekweazu said that NCDC would also publish the 11 high incidence local governments areas that were responsible for 50 per cent of the virus cases in the country and that would guide the actions of the government in the coming days.

In his address, The Director-General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Prof. Stanley Okolo, said that WAHO had not endorsed the Madagascar herbal cure.

He said it was, however, working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to evaluate the various claims of cure for the COVID-19 infection.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Nigeria records 389 new cases of COVID-19, highest daily figure ever, NCDC says



Nigeria on Wednesday reported 389 new confirmed new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of confirmed infections in the country to 8,733. NAN reports that the figure is the highest daily cases so far reported since the beginning of the outbreak in the country.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on its official twitter handle, said that five deaths were also recorded. The NCDC says one new state, Kogi, has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The health agency said that this takes the country’s total infections to 8,733, out of which 2,501 have been discharged, with 254 deaths.

NCDC data showed that the cases were spread across 22 states and with Lagos accounting for the highest number of infections for the day with 256 cases.

Others were: Katsina (23), Edo (22), Rivers (14), Kano(13), Adamawa (11), Akwa Ibom (11), Kaduna(7), Kwara (6), Nasarawa (6), Gombe (2), Plateau (2), Abia (2), Delta (2), Benue (2), Niger (2), Kogi (2), Oyo (2), Imo (1), Borno (1), Ogun (1), Anambra (1).

The NCDC said that to date, 2,501 patients have been discharged and 254 deaths were recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The health agency said that most of those who died were associated with comorbidities, it found out that three out of four of those who have been discharged were without comorbidities.

“This is consistent with the fact that risks are higher for those with other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic non- communicable diseases.

“There is a general reduction in mortality trend and continuous improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges compared to the increase in number of confirmed cases,” the agency said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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