The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has said it will begin free screening for coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday 30 March, 2020.
NIMR is a medical research institute established by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the research institute establishment act of 1977, to promote National health and developments.
Professor Babatunde Lawal Salako, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ibadan, who is also the Director General of NIMR , Yaba Lagos, disclosed the commencement of free screning on his twitter handle (@LawalSalako) on Friday evening.
“Kindly visit our Website for appointment if you fall into categories of those who need the test, especially if you have come in contact with suspected case,” he said.
The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research begins free screening for COVID-19 on Monday 30 March, 2020. Kindly visit our Website for appointment if you fall into categories of those who need the test, especially if you have come in contact with suspected case. pic.twitter.com/U8KBVBAtSr
— Professor Babatunde Lawal Salako (@LawalSalako) March 27, 2020
Meanwhile, when Daily Trust visited the website, there was no clear indicator of where to book the appointments on the website.
However, under “contact” category, there is a form where one can send a message to the organisation.
Before this new development, one can only get tested by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through the state governments’ agencies in charge of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some Nigerians have complained they were not getting attention when they called the NCDC hotline to make inquiry about how to get tested.
As at Friday night, 81 cases of the coronavirus disease have been confirmed in Nigeria but public analysts believe the case may be well over 100 as many Nigerians lack access to facilities to ascertain their status.
Those who responded to Professor Salako’s tweet commended the initiative but called for it to cascade to the states and local governments.
Here are some of the replies:
Great move by the institute. Together, we shall win this war against COVID-19.
— Eminent Gbenga (@adetunj) March 28, 2020
Oga ooo…. rather late than never… I hope there will be research as to what can cure this #COVID19 in Nigeria not only free screening …
— Sulyman a.k.a MOP (@alogbabrothers) March 28, 2020
Well done. There should be a solid plan to ensure crowd control and efficiency in your process. Can you design an appointment schedule?
— Mu’aadh ohi (@thebroker007) March 28, 2020
Every one in Nigeria should do the test especially when at the early stage of the virus it is not visible on the human physical state. My thought sir. Thank you.
— Kingsley Nsidibe (ACA) (@KingChioms) March 28, 2020
There is no space on the website where I can book any appointment.
— Naijaedupreneur® (@faluyikayode) March 27, 2020
Now this is very very commendable and should be replicated in all the states. As at now we don’t really have a true picture of what we are facing. Since the virus mostly shows no signs, it’s very important everyone gets tested if possible or establish testing locations
— Arsenella (@arsenella007) March 27, 2020