The governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, on Wednesday inaugurated zero-contact sample collection booths to increase the testing capacity for Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the state.
This was contained in a statement signed by Yusuf Idris, the Director-General, Media, Public Enlightenment and Communications to the governor, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Gusau.
He said the booths at the testing centre would also be used in the protection of health workers whom he described as “the frontline soldiers in the Coronavirus raging war.”
“The provision of the new state-of- the-art facilities is in furtherance of my administration’s firm resolve to rid the state of the global scourge with an initiative that is guaranteed to improve the testing capacity of the virus in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations to regularly test and isolate COVID-19 patients in the state and its neighbours.
“The intervention is also part of the broader strategy put in place by the Zamfara State Government, in expeditious response to the pandemic that unsettled our world through the disruption of our social and economic activities, spike in mortality rate and general exacerbation of global health challenges,” he said.
Mr Matawalle noted that with the sample collection booths, the state government would be cutting costs by achieving more with less as it had become difficult and economically unsustainable to justify using new Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to test each patient, especially with the global scarcity of the vital equipment.
According to him, the facility will equally ensure timely delivery of collected samples because the booth can be deployed to border towns and remote areas.
He explained that in post COVID – 19, the sample collection booths can be converted into telemedicine booths, an innovation that is poised to boost the people’s access to healthcare and their overall wellbeing, especially in the rural areas of the state.
He said Zamfara remained “one of the states with the best approach to containing COVID-19, having built an ultramodern isolation centre from start to finish within two weeks; procured more PPEs; acquired six PCR machines, disinfectants/decontaminations machines, disinfection tunnels, sample collection Booths among others.
“The effort has made it fit for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to comfortably set-up multiple molecular laboratories, a situation which accords the state to boast of having one of the best COVID-19 recovery statistics in the country,” he said.
He further stated that his administration made concerted effort to revamp the health sector through the provision and upgrading of the health institutions; procurement of ambulances in all the 17 General Hospitals in the state.
He said the state government had also constructed comprehensive healthcare facilities across all the 147 Wards; procured tricycles for all 147 comprehensive healthcare centres and revived the state drug revolving programmes among others.
Conducting the governor round the sample collection booths, the Managing Director of Flying Doctors Health Care Group Investment Limited, Dr Ola Browns, said the Sample collection booths have the capacity of collecting 70 samples in an hour and is the largest Non- Contact testing Centre in Nigeria.
She stated that the facility guaranteed 100 per cent protection from direct contact with all suspected cases.