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Nigeria’s increased testing still behind Djibouti — a country with a population less than 1m

Nigeria’s increased testing still behind Djibouti — a country with a population less than 1m
April 19
17:20 2020
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The federal ministry of health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have increased testing for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but have tested fewer people than Djibouti, a country with a population of fewer than 1 million people. 

TheCable understands that Nigeria, with only 7,153 people tested as of April 19, has remained one of the worst performers in the world when it comes to COVID-19 testing.

Despite smaller populations, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, have carried out more tests than Nigeria has.

South Africa has tested 108,021 persons — 15 times more tests than Nigeria has conducted, despite recording its first case before the Cyril Ramaphosa-led country.

In the past seven days, Ghana has increased testing from 37,405 to 60,916. Within the same time, Nigeria has moved from 5,000 tests to 7,153.

Egypt has doubled testing, from 25,000 tests carried out only seven days ago to 55,000 as of Sunday.

Nigeria has increased test per one million people in its population from 24 per one million to 35 per million — far behind the continent’s leader, Mauritius, which has tested 7,670 people in every one million.

Mauritius and Djibouti are doing at least 200% percent better than Nigeria when it comes to testing per population.

TheCable had initially reported that despite having smaller populations, Ghana and South Africa had tested at least seven times more people than Nigeria has since the virus hit the continent.

Responding to the test question, Sani Aliyu, head of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said there are more labs for testing, but less demand for tests.

He said mass testing could not be carried out, due to how expensive the tests are.

“Is it time to relax the criteria? Absolutely not. Remember, these test kits are expensive and every country in the world wants it. There is no room for community testing for coronavirus,” he had said.

“I would rather conduct hundred tests and get 10 positives than do a thousand tests and get 10b positives. It is all about improving the efficacy of the test. It is much better to test people that have symptoms because what we call the pretest probability is much higher.”

But the World Health Organisation recommends more and early testing are instrumental to curbing the virus on the continent.

Nigeria is on WHO priority list for curbing the spread of the virus, that is, countries where most of its energy is focused.

Other countries on that list are Algeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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