INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE TO THE COVID CRISIS – CERHI, UNIVERSITY OF BENIN, BENIN CITY, NIGERIA
Initiation of the COVID-19 Testing Initiative in Benin City
One of the major draw backs in understanding the extent of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria is the limited testing sites in the Country. With the CERHI laboratory that has a highly functional and ultramodern PCR machine, it was evident that CERHI could function as a test Centre in the country. In an effort to contribute to filling this urgent gap, the CERHI Centre Leader, Prof. Friday Okonofua, contacted the Director General of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, via email (March 31, 2020) with the proposal to use CERHI laboratory facilities in collaboration with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) to set up a COVID-19 testing Centre. Thereafter, the CERHI Centre Leader and the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki proceeded to inaugurate a Joint Committee to oversee the setting up and operationalization of the COVID-19 Testing Centre in UBTH.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Joint COVID-19 Testing was signed between CERHI and UBTH on April 15, 2020. Photos of the signing ceremony are attached herewith.
Professor Friday Okonofua, Centre Leader of CERHI and Professor Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director, UBTH
The Centre Leader, the UBTH Chief Medical Director, the Joint Committee as well as other collaborators such as the Edo State Government and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) have so far worked assiduously to ensure that the COVID-19 Testing Centre is validated by the NCDC and has since commenced operation.
So far the following activities have been carried out:
- Procurement of testing materials for the COVID-19 tests
- Refresher training of Laboratory staff on testing and safe protocols
- Design of laboratory request and data collection forms for the COVID-19 tests
- Description of the research agenda for COVID-19
- Publication of an editorial by the Centre Leader, Professor Friday Okonofua and Professor Akhere Omonkhua on the covid-19 and future perspectives for Africa.
- Testing of COVID-19 suspects at Virology Laboratory in UBTH
COVID-19: Perspectives and Reflections from Africa
Members of the Joint Committee of UBTH and CERHI, UNIBEN
CERHI/PCR COVID-19 Test Lab