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‘Why states should use TB machines for COVID-19 testing’

Tuberculosis (TB) GeneXpert machines
Tuberculosis (TB) GeneXpert machines

The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation, Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume, has advised state governments to utilise tuberculosis (TB) GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Odume said doing so would help expand testing for COVID-19 in the states.

He gave the advice while unveiling a mobile truck called Wellness on Wheels (WoW) in Kaduna. The WoW truck was donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the KNCV TB Foundation, Nigeria.

Dr. Odume said the WoW truck was built with a GeneXpert machine and an X-ray, adding, that the truck could be moved to communities to fast track testing for both TB and COVID-19.

He said Kaduna was the first state to deploy GeneXpert machine for COVID-19 testing in the country, and second after South Africa, in the region.

“We need rapid diagnostic platform to increase COVID-19 testing, and we have them in the WoW truck,” he said.

He called on other state governments to emulate Kaduna State by getting the GeneXpert machines for the testing of COVID-19 in their states.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, applauded the KNCV TB Foundation and USAID for deploying the machine to the state, adding that over 200 samples had been tested with it so far in the state.

He said the machine became necessary to contain the spread of the disease, particularly now that all states were easing restrictions.

Gov. El-Rufai said: “This has been very helpful because for the first time, we are getting a sense of the geography and demography of the spread of the infection.”

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