July 2, 2022 9:50 am

Abia: Media Personnel Sensitized On The Roll Out Of COVID-19 Ag-RDT In The State


Timely case detection is one of the most important steps to prevent and control Coronavirus, COVID-19 disease transmission.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, approved laboratories in Nigeria have been using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) such as real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay to diagnose COVID-19 cases.

However, the gap between the rRT-PCR testing capacity in laboratories and the number of suspected cases to be tested continued to be a major issue.

Recently, a new technology, the antigen detection rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) has been developed and become available for faster COVID-19 diagnosis. The Ag-RDT directly detects viral proteins or antigen of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in respiratory samples using a method of lateral flow immunoassay.

Mrs Chigbo Ogechukwu

Educating Journalists during a media parley tagged, “Sensitization of Media Personnel on the Roll out of COVID-19 Ag-RDT in The State”, held at the Abia State Public Health Emergency Operation Centre hall, Umuahia, the WHO Abia State Coordinator, Mr Linus Okoro represented by the WHO Integrated Management System (IMS) Coordinator, Mrs Chigbo Ogechukwu x-rayed the basic facts on COVID-19 disease, pointing out that the NCDC and WHO are working tirelessly to ensure that the transmission rate of disease is interrupted.

She said that it was necessary to involve the media personnel in COVID-19 response activities, as information is power, and encouraged the media to assist send out information about the Ag-RDT.

The WHO IMS Coordinator, who also torched/ touched on Abia State Health Emergency Situational Update, said 23, 700 suspected COVID-19 cases have been registered from inception, out of which 23, 690 samples were collected and out of the collected samples 2,029 cases were confirmed as at week 45; 30 deaths recorded, five of them were health workers, while 1990 cases were managed and discharged.

She revealed that Abia has recorded COVID-19 cases in all the 17 LGA with Umuahia North having the highest of 815 cases and Ugwunagbo L.G.A, with the least cases of  7.

She revealed further that as at last September, 2021, Abia recorded over one hundred cases and so many cases yet to be identified, hence the urgent need for massive and aggressive sensitization and also need for residents to shun vaccine hesitancy.

Lady Peace Nwogwugwo

Speaking also, the State Epidemiologist, Lady Peace Nwogwugwo maintained that Ag-RDT is valid and have been widely used in the NYSC camps and about 8064 corps members and NYSC personnel’s have been tested. She pointed out that the test will help strengthen efforts to eliminate the disease.

Mr. Stanley Ajamgbulogu

Another resource person, Mr. Stanley Ajamgbulogu, who is the State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer, informed that the COVID-19 cases contact tracing assist to bridge the spread of the disease.

Also, the State Assistant Epidemiologist, Mr Charles Ibeleme in his lecture entitled, “Introduction to Ag-RDT kits and data collection said that the WHO, the state Primary Healthcare Development Agency with its partners have rolled out the COVID-19 Ag-RDT to curb the spread of the disease in the state and encouraged Abians to visit their LGA Disease Surveillance Notification Officers to be captured and undergo the test.

Charles Ibeleme

To also make the process easier, he encouraged Abians to log on to the website https://ecif.ncdc.gov.ng to fill the form online, adding that they have sample sites in all the 17 L.G.As of the state, with Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers on ground to attend to residents, pointing out also that the test is free of charge.
Contributing, the Public Relations Officer of the National Orientation Agency, NOA Abia State headquarters, Mr. Goddy Onwuchekwa informed that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the agency under the State Director, Dr. Lady Ngozi Okechukwu moved into the field – the local churches, women gathering, motor parks among other places to enlighten the residents on the pandemic, its prevention and later the vaccine and the need to discourage hesitancy.

Goddy Onwuchekwa

Meanwhile, a cross section of Abians who spoke on the condition of anonymity have lauded the new development, saying that, “Getting COVID-19 result in less than few hours and not having to wait for days”, was a relief.

They maintained that the short turnaround time would enabled those with confirmed cases to make the appropriate and timely decision to self-isolate and lauded the World Health Organization and other bodies that assisted to introduce the new diagnostic kit Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Ag- RDT) intending to improve the COVID-19 testing capacity in the State.

Recall that Antigen-based rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) is a new diagnostic tool which is fast and an easy-to-deploy (generates result in 15-30 minutes) and a viable alternative to molecular-based platforms for confirming COVID-19 cases.

Also, Abia State Public Health Emergency Operation Centre of the Ministry of Health with support from NCDC, WHO and other partners rolled out the free Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test which results are 99 percent reliable.

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