COVID-19: Nigeria’s testing capacity is depressing, says NMA

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decried the country’s low testing capacity, expressing worry such portends danger to its effort to combat spread of the raging pandemic.

Nigeria has so far tested about 23,835 persons for the novel disease – which is below that of Egypt’s 90,000, Ghana’s 155,201 and South Africa’s 324,079.

Speaking in a statement titled “Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario,” NMA president, Francis Faduyile, said the statistics were indicative of the country’s low testing capacity.

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According to him, there is need for an improvement in the country’s testing capacity if the nation hopes to tackle the disease headlong.

The NMA president said: “This depressing development saddens NMA because it will wipe away efforts made so far by the government, PTF and Nigerians in public reaction against COVID-19 pandemic.

“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 pickup and transport modalities.”

The NMA also called on the federal government to investigate Kogi and Cross River states where no single case of the disease has been recorded.

The body said: “The NMA vehemently decries the stance of the governments of Kogi and Cross River states to NCDC’s advisory. 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 guidelines 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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Nigeria presently has 4,399 confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic with 143 deaths recorded and 778 patients discharged as of the time this report was filed.

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