Healthcare and logistics company, Lifebank has launched two mobile drive-through test centres to boost coronavirus testing in Nigeria.
The test centres, designed like restaurant drive-throughs, and are located in Lagos, Nigeria’s epicentre for commerce and Oyo, in the Southwest of the country. Lifebank says it launched the free-testing centres in partnerships with the Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).
Read more about Coronavirus
Temie Giwa-Tubosun, the founder of Lifebank, said she took the initiative to launch the mobile testing centres after arriving at the conclusion that Nigeria’s testing capacity for coronavirus was low.
“I read too much about the virus and got anxious. I realized that testing was a problem so I started to think up ways to get more people tested for the virus,” she told CNN.
Procedure For Testing
The drive-through test centres have been funded by stakeholders in the country including Sterling Bank, UTL Trust, Rising Tide, and the Daystar Center, which means they can administer tests for free.
Residents first register on the NIMR website, where they are required to provide information to determine whether they are at risk of contracting the virus, says Giwa-Tubosun.
“You are only selected and invited for testing if you meet the case definition for coronavirus, or if you have the symptoms. NIMR and Lifebank staff select the people who get invited for testing,” she explained.
NCDC conducts a cross-check on patients who show up at the centre to confirm if they actually have symptoms of the virus while the test is done by NIMR staff, said Giwa-Tubosun.
“We are leaving the certified government agencies to do the testing while we (Lifebank) assist them with setting up the infrastructure, sorting out the funding, budgeting and procurement,” she said.
So far, 250 people have been tested for free in Lagos, and 500 people in Oyo state.
Lifebank is also making oxygen available for severe cases of coronavirus.
This is in line with the WHO’s statement that hospitalised patients should be given supplemental oxygen as part of early supportive treatment. But Africa currently has a shortage of medical oxygen and ventilators.
“We have always delivered emergency oxygen through an initiative called Airbank,” said Giwa-Tubosun, “but what we are doing now, thanks to sponsors, is expanding deliveries to bigger oxygen cylinders to supply for Covid-19 patients.”
Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
Lifebank is collating data containing the number of ventilators, ICU beds, and respirators available in private hospitals and health centers in Nigeria.
“We are talking to agencies of the government to find out what supplies they have and what they need,” said Giwa-Tubosun. “We want the database to be available so that they (government agencies) can reach out to the private sector and strike out deals with them regarding the equipment they need.”
Through its database, Lifebank has identified 768 ventilators, ICU beds, and respirators in Nigeria.
Featured image source: NIPC
Got something you want to read about on our platform? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org