The Lagos state government says it has received requests from 5,000 individuals for COVID-19 tests at accredited private laboratories.
According to a statement on Saturday, the requests were received through Lagos BioBank, a digital platform developed by the state government, to meet the increasing demand for COVID-19 testing.
The platform, which is supported by Sterling Bank, was launched by the state to decentralise testing and regulate the bills paid for tests.
Sterling Bank was appointed the fund/process administration partner which is saddled with the responsibility of managing invoicing, collections and distribution of payments to the diagnostic labs on the network.
Speaking on the initiative, Akin Abayomi, the Lagos state commissioner for health, said: “It is important to iterate that the Lagos state government, through the Lagos Biobank, still makes prompt and reliable COVID-19 tests accessible to residents at no cost for the public health emergency response”.
Abayomi said all other groups who would want to test and do not fit into the case definition such as corporate groups, returnees, family and individual can book appointments for sample collection and pay for the test via the platform.
The commissioner said they would also have the option of choosing their preferred laboratories and that a standard fee would be charged through online payment or bank transfer for tests on the platform, irrespective of the private testing centre.
The commissioner said the platform eliminates the overbilling of citizens seeking to know their COVID-19 status through government-approved private labs.
Commenting on the initiative, Obinna Ukachukwu, Sterling Bank divisional head of health and education sectors, said: “We are delighted to support the Lagos state government to deliver the Lagos BioBank platform which is accelerating COVID-19 testing for Lagos residents, and relieving the burden on the public health infrastructure in the state.
“This initiative, which expands the COVID-19 response capacity in Nigeria’s most populous state, has improved testing capacity, identification of active infections, case management and contact tracing.”
The government-approved private diagnostic laboratories are Medbury Medical Services, SYNLAB, 54gene, BIOLOGIX, Clinalancet, O2 Medical Services, Clinix Healthcare, Afriglobal Medicare, Reddington Zaine Laboratory and VCare Diagnostics Limited.