COVID-19: Rivers looks towards Switzerland for PCR machine

Tina Amanda

The Rivers State government has said that necessary efforts are being made to acquire and install Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine calibrated for COVID 19.

Commissioner of Health, Professor Princewill Chike who stated this in Port Harcourt, said the two PCR machine installed at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, acquired by the state government, was not calibrated for COVID 19 as Coronavirus was not in the picture as at the time it was calibrated for other diseases.

He further confirmed that the state government has gone ahead to place an order for the PCR machine from Switzerland, stressing that the manufacturer only manufactures on demand.

“Rivers State has two Polymerase Chain Reaction PCR machine at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital which Governor Nyesom Wike graciously assisted the state to acquire. The PCR machines functional at the state Teaching Hospital is calibrated for HIV, Hepatitis and Dengu Fever. COVID 19 which is what we call SARS COVID 2 was not in the picture then, so was not calibrated for Coronavirus.

“We have made effort to acquire PCR for the state, we have gone to the length of contacting the manufacturers at Switzerland, but with the COVID 19 pandemic Worldwide, all countries are looking for PCR machine, so the demand is high”

He, however, affirmed that the state government is doing a lot to improve and equip the public health laboratories, and the five zonal hospitals which are under construction.

“Governor Nyesom Wike met a public health laboratory that was not well functional, he has equipped the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, he is building the Mother and Child hospital, these two hospitals have state of the art medical equipment.

“Also there is the construction of zonal hospitals one at Bori in Khana local government area which the furnishing would have commenced by now, one at Degema, Ahoada, Omoku local government areas and one at Okehi community in Etche local government area.

“These five zonal hospitals are like tertiary hospitals, they are five-star levels and they are going to be provided and stocked with this equipment. They all have their own fully equipped laboratories”