Nigeria’s low testing rate depressing, says NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed concern over the country’s low testing rate for COVID-19, saying the situation is depressing.
In a statement entitled: “Preparing For The Worst Case Scenario”, NMA president, Francis Faduyile,
called for improvement.
He said the association has carried out a review of the country’s response against the coronavirus pandemic and has developed a number of likely solutions.
As of Sunday morning, Nigeria had tested 23,835 persons — a lower figure compared to Egypt’s 90,000, Ghana’s 155,201, and South Africa’s 324,079.
Faduyile said the country’s low testing rate is as a result of test kits shortages and difficulty in samples collection.
He said despite the announced increased capacity of 50,000 samples per day in 21 laboratories across the country, the challenges of poor coordination and planning have contributed largely to the problem.
He recommended the inclusion of approved private laboratories to boost the speed of sample collection and transport modalities.
“This depressing development saddens NMA because it will wipe away the efforts made so far by the Government, PTF and Nigerians in the public reaction against COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.
“The Association places the responsibility on the PTF and NCDC to find the fastest workable solutions to fix this challenge, including incorporating the approved private sector laboratories that already have established specimen pick up and transport modalities.”
The disease, which has spread to 34 states and the federal capital territory, had claimed 128 lives as of Saturday evening.
Kogi and Cross Rivers are the two states yet to confirm a single case of the disease but the association asked the federal government to investigate the the zero-case claims of the states.
“The NMA vehemently decries the stance of Governments of Kogi and Cross River states to NCDC’s advisory,” it read.
“While it would be welcome news for a ‘no-positive-case’ status in any state or FCT, every state must ensure that it is following the testing guideline issued by NCDC. That way, no cases are missed, as that would seriously imperil the whole national response to controlling COVID-19 pandemic.”

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