COVID-19: Nigeria Ranks Low In Tests Conducted Despite Donation Of Over 35,000 Kits, $500,000 1
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COVID-19: Nigeria Ranks Low In Tests Conducted Despite Donation Of Over 35,000 Kits, $500,000

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria, government in conjunction with other stakeholders have been involved in ways to contain the virus and ensure the spread is reduced.

As a result, government has made several moves including a major lockdown of the hardest hit states of Lagos, Ogun and Federal Capital Territory.

While at this, the Nigerian Government has received several donations from both local and foreign bodies to help tackle the virus and cushion the effect of the pandemic on the people.

Part of the funding received by the country was channelled towards increasing the testing capability of the country as the health sector in its current abysmal state does not have the capacity to carry out mass testing.

54gene, African Genomics Research, Services, and Development Company, raised the sum of $500,000.

The money raised was to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity in the country by up to 1,000 additional tests daily.

In the same vein, Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, among other things, donated 20,000 test kits to Nigeria.

Also, the United Nations donated 10,000 test kits while Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria donated 5,000 test kits to the country.

However, despite receiving these equipment, the country still ranks low in Coronavirus testing in Africa.

As at 17th of April 2020, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, the agency saddled with combating the virus in Nigeria revealed it has only carried out 7,153 tests.

According to data by Worldometer, Nigeria, when compared to other countries on the continent, has only done 35 test per one million population.

In the same period, South Africa has done 100,827 tests while Ghana has tested 50,719 with Egypt 25,000 tests.

Mauritius, despite recording 324 cases with 108 recovered, has carried out 9,755 tests.

Similarly, Kenya with just 246 cases has tested 10,784 samples.

Interestingly, the index case for South Africa came a week after Nigeria announced its first case on February 27, 2020.

While South Africa recorded its first on March 5, 2020, Ghana recorded its index case two weeks after Nigeria on March 12.

From that period till now, South Africa and Ghana with lesser population, have approximately carried out 20 times and 10 times respectively, more tests than Nigeria has done.

COVID-19: Nigeria Ranks Low In Tests Conducted Despite Donation Of Over 35,000 Kits, $500,000 2

This brings to the fore Nigeria’s lack of efficiency in attaining a full appraisal of the current reality.

As at April 17, Nigeria currently has 493 cases, 159 discharged and 17 deaths, this means 335 active cases.

While this is reassuring, it is not also deceptive as it does not reflect our reality, and it is because Nigeria has not tested enough.

Existing data shows that if the rate of testing for other countries are applied for Nigeria over the same period, Nigeria would have recorded more than what it currently has.

The low number of tests carried out in Nigeria has cast a cloud over confirmed cases recorded in the country.

There has been widespread accusations that the agency in charge of testing, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control deliberately refused to test people for the virus, rather the agency has prioritised testing politicians and high profile persons in the country.

The diplomatic community has warned that Nigeria could record an explosion in infected cases in coming weeks as there are at least 5,000 persons, who had come in contact with infected persons in the country already.

As against the deliberate act of not testing people in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation has called for the mass testing of people suspected of having the virus.

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected.

“We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case,” WHO said.

Meanwhile, in his latest nationwide broadcast where he extended the lockdown in the states of Lagos, Ogun and FCT, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that the country will improve its capacity to be able to carry out 1,500 tests a day.

Also, in its latest release, on April 17, 2020, the NCDC stated that it was working hard to increase the number of samples tested including community surveillance in the FCT and Lagos.

It also released its strategy for containing the virus in Nigeria.

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