By Temitope Akintoye,
The Lagos State Government has disclosed that it is set to increase the state’s daily coronavirus testing capacity and begin the conduction of over 1,000 free Covid-19 tests on residents within its borders.
It said that the diagnostic tests for the deadly global pandemic would be administered free of charge in all of the state’s coronavirus testing centers and that efforts were ongoing to subsidize the evaluation process in order to facilitate prompt response to the healthcare crisis facing the nation.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, revealed that Lagos had conducted a total of 16,000 tests since the incidence of the coronavirus outbreak in the country and that the state expends between N40,000 and N50,000 on each assessment process for the deadly disease.
Abayomi, while speaking with newsmen on Thursday, said that it had become pertinent for the state to devise means of subsidizing the costs for the coronavirus tests in order for Lagos to continue the provision of free testing services to suspected Covid-19 patients, adding that a total of N800 million had so far been spent on the evaluations.
He said that the state government was committed to increasing testing capacity as well as ensuring that residents had access to free coronavirus assessments within its borders, and disclosed that the Sanwo-Olu led administration would embark on a move to garner support towards achieving sustainable subsidy for the Covid-19 tests.
“We are planning to test up to about 1,000 people per day very soon in the next month or two. For now, the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test,”
“But as we ramp up our testing, we are going to try and use some means of subsidy for the tests, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or from development partners to help us to subsidize the test,”
“For now, the state government is providing COVID-19 tests free of charge and all citizens who need to be tested for the virus can get it done free of charge at any of our testing centers.”
According to the commissioner, the recent rise in confirmed coronavirus cases within the nation’s disease epicenter was a result of the increase in the state’s testing capacity.
He said that Lagos’ four testing laboratories now ran three shifts each and that sample collection had also been decentralized to be conducted in 20 collection centers across the state in order to increase the pace with which tests were being carried out within the region.