OPINION | Here’s Something You will Like about NCDC!

*The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control 

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*NCDC does not build, own or run#Covid19 Testing Labs. Apart from their National Reference Lab in Abuja, all other Labs are owned/run independently by Federal & State Tertiary Hospitals, & private sector

NCDC’s role is Accreditation + technical support to qualified Labs

*NCDC is not the agency responsible for the collection of samples from patients, or the transportation of confirmed cases to Isolation/Treatment Centers.

NCDC also does not build or operate Isolation/Treatment Centers.

ALL OF THESE are the responsibilities of State Governments.

*NCDC also does not make the results of Covid-19 tests available to patients. When a result emerges at any of the Labs, it is made available to NCDC and the State Epidemiologist.

*The task of informing a patient is the responsibility of the State Epidemiologist/Health Ministry.

*NCDC’s role in the dissemination of Test Results is this: They receive the numbers from the Labs (25 and counting), validate the numbers STATE BY STATE, collate the figures nationally, and then make the national announcement (that late night tweet that keeps many of you awake).

*I’ve heard the NCDC DG say that sometimes, if they’re unable to validate test data (i.e. confirmed cases) with a particular State, before nightly collation, they will leave that State out of the announcement until the next day. That’s how important the validation is. Painstaking.

*The process is complicated somewhat by the fact that the Labs are carrying out tests for multiple States. So you have to ensure that the State-level reporting is accurate. You have to be in constant touch with each State, to minimize the risk of mix-ups or other errors.

*If you have any Covid-19 complaint, call your State Helpline:

*If you call NCDC they’re still going to have to escalate to your State. Your State has PRIMARY responsibility for Covid-19 Response

*Nigerians are encouraged to make their STATE HELPLINES the first port of call. Only call the NCDC helpline if you can’t get through to your State.

So, what’s NCDC’s role in the Pandemic Response?

*NCDC has a very important “SUPPORT” function, supporting States’ Response: i.e. processes & logistics of sample-collection, contact-tracing, isolation, etc.

*NCDC also supports States with PPEs etc.
Each State has something called an Emergency Operations Center, “for the preparation, coordination, and management of response activities for public health events.” NCDC deploys its knowledge, expertise and experience to help States set up their EOCs.

*Very importantly, NCDC has a responsibility to develop guidelines & protocols for pandemic response activities. Very important. And they’ve developed these on everything from case definition to testing to use of PPE & masks to handling of corpses, etc covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/guideline/

*NCDC also coordinates the public health laboratory network for#COVID19. I talked about this earlier. The national network of Covid testing labs (25 and counting) is overseen by NCDC.

*But this does not mean NCDC owns or builds or runs Testing Labs. They don’t. See earlier tweet.

*NCDC also has an important communications function. You’re all probably familar with that. You probably get their SMS, see their videos, their interviews, tweets, etc. They communicate their guidelines and protocols, share info on infection prevention and control, etc.

*NCDC also collects & processes data, on various infectious diseases and public health issues generally, from around the country. They have a pretty sophisticated disease outbreak data platform, the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS).

*NCDC also has an international liaison role, engaging on behalf of Nigeria with agencies & partners like @WHO@AfricaCDC,@OoasWaho, etc

*Institut Pasteur, the Lab in Senegal where the revolutionary rapid test kit is being validated, is a long-time NCDC partner/collaborator.

*If you have any complaints, for example, about the quality of service at an Isolation Center, the people to hold responsible are your State Government. Not NCDC.

*Let’s be clear about where responsibilities lie – so that people won’t get away with not doing their jobs.

Tolu Ogunlesi

Twitter: @toluogunlesi

Eze Eze

Senior Program Officer 2 – Media

Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, Abuja

+234 909 4000 666 | eze@ba-nigeria.org |

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