Onitsha General Hospital: 1st Secondary Healthcare Centre to test for Coronavirus


Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, some Nations have been struggling to stop the spread of the virus and one of the key ways of achieving this is through massive testing of samples.

Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala said that Onitsha multi-specialty hospital was the first secondary healthcare centre to provide testing for COVID-19 in the country.Dr Okpala made this known during the 6th edition of “Meet the Media’’ with the Governor’s Media Group held at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.

“When we were sending COVID-19 samples to Specialist Hospital at Irrua, Edo State; usually it took 2 days for the results to be out, but later the duration increased from two to 10 days and we got worried.

“So, we acquired Abbot Machines from America, which we used in setting up the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) certified molecular testing laboratories at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka. It is operational now.’’According to him, Onitsha General Hospital had been the only general hospital in Nigeria to begin running tests for COVID-19.

“We opened a Gene Expert testing centre and acquired Bs12 and Bs13 platforms, which can perform four tests per run between 45 minutes to an hour.

“What it means is that we can test as many samples in a day as possible thereby containing the spread.

“Again, it is the first public health centre in Nigeria with central oxygen. Onitsha General Hospital has a 6-bedroom Intensive Protective Centre. Each room has an ante room to ensure no new air enters the main room and re-infects the patients.’’

The commissioner noted that the state had since collected a total of 1,643 samples and currently has about 34 active cases.

He noted that on assumption of office in 2014, the Governor mapped out three general hospitals for upgrade to specialist hospitals. “They are Onitsha, Ekwulobia and Enugu-Ukwu’’.

The administration made far reaching efforts in achieving that goal which saw the total overhaul of the centre with the construction of a Helipad and other added essential services which hitherto were lacking.

Dr Okpala emphasized Gov. Willie Obiano’s commitment in ensuring that the disease was defeated in the state while urging Ndi Anambra to continue to observe all the standard safety measures so as to stay alive