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Nigeria: NCDC chair wants private labs to test patients free

The director general of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has asked private laboratories willing to join in testing for COVID-19 in the country to be ready to conduct the tests at no cost to the patients “where feasible.”

The director general said if private patients must be charged for diagnostic tests, it should not be with additional charges.

The NCDC director stated this in a document, “Integration of Private Sector Laboratories in National COVID-19 Response,” published on its website.

The director general said the mechanism to engage the private sector as part of national COVID-19 would be between the state and private sector laboratory, with technical guidance and support from the NCDC.

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According to the document, a Memorandum of Understanding may be signed between the state and the private sector that provides details of cost implications and operational support.

Steps to follow prior patients tests

The guidelines state, “Principles of engagement with the private sector laboratories include that all private sector laboratories should have valid registration with relevant national and state level authorities to perform diagnostic testing.

“All staff (members) working within the facilities should be appropriately trained and registered with appropriate national bodies.

“Private laboratories should abide by the roles of public health laboratories listed above.

“He said the testing should be conducted at no cost to the patient. If private patients are charged for diagnostic tests, it should be at cost with no additional charges.

“Private laboratories should agree to sign a MoU with the state health authorities while the NCDC will provide overall coordination and technical support.

“The NCDC will commit to supply reagents and extraction kits for continued operations. Where possible, private sector laboratory should work with states to procure reagents”.

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