Nigeria’s COVID-19 death rate better than Africa’s average — but here’s a lesson from zero-death Rwanda

Nigeria’s COVID-19 death rate better than Africa’s average — but here’s a lesson from zero-death Rwanda
April 22
20:47 2020

Nigeria’s death rate from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is better than the African and the global average, TheCable can report. 

As of noon on Wednesday, Nigeria had recorded a total of 25 deaths from 782 cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), setting its death rate at 3.2 percent pf the total number of cases reported in the country.

This is better than the global average of 6.98 percent of the African average of 4.7 percent.

On the continent, however, Nigeria has recorded more deaths — on the average — than Ghana, South Africa, Gabon, Djibouti, and a host of other countries.

The west African giant has a better death rate than Sudan, Egypt, Algeria, and about a dozen other countries on the continent.

Despite having 150 cases, Rwanda has not recorded any death, keeping its mortality at zero percent. The case is similar in Madagascar, a country with 121 cases but no deaths.

TheCable reviewed the countries with the best mortality ratio, and found Djibouti, Rwanda, Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, and Uganda have early testing in common.


Rwanda recorded its first case on March 14, 2020, and in six days, ordered the shut down of all its airports. For Nigeria, the first case was recorded on February 27, while airports were shut down on March 21 — 22 days later.

The East African country also locked down the entire nation in seven days after its first case, while Nigeria took over a month before locking down only two states — Lagos, Ogun — and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

As for testing, Nigeria has tested 8,003 in seven weeks, while Rwanda tested 6,959 in five weeks — showing more testing on the average, within a much shorter time.

To put this in context, Nigeria had tested only about 13 people before it confirmed its first case of COVID-19. Rwanda tested 900 people before it confirmed its first case.

But the biggest lesson from Rwanda has been its preparedness for a pandemic: As a nation next to the Ebola-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda has been expressing extreme caution around its land borders before the outbreak of COVID-19.

It had successfully shut the Ebola virus disease (EVD) out of its borders despite sharing a border with DRC. In the same manner, it had procured thermal screen equipment to spot fever long before the outbreak.

The nation also trained 500 healthcare workers to prepare to respond to the pandemic before it recorded a single case.

Also before recording its first case, it had also established a multidisciplinary team to assess and strengthen preparedness and response to the pandemic, setting up isolation centres and taking precautions before the first case was reported.

There are a lot of factors that cause COVID-19 deaths, and various challenging ways to prevent them. But for Rwanda, the obvious prevention plan has been preparedness.

While Nigeria may have lost time on preparation, a few Nigerian states yet to record any case of COVID-19 still have the chance to prepare and avoid COVID-19 deaths.


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