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‘We are lagging behind’ — NCDC speaks on plans to test 2 million Nigerians

‘We are lagging behind’ — NCDC speaks on plans to test 2 million Nigerians
April 28
20:45 2020
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Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says the country is lagging behind in conducting COVID-19 tests.

He spoke at the media briefing of the presidential task force briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday.

TheCable had reported how Nigeria has tested fewer people than Djibouti, a country with a population of less than one million.

To bridge the gap, Ihekweazu said Nigeria intends to test two million people in the next three months, adding that this would help in identifying those with the disease and aid proper observation and treatment.

“Our goal is to avoid transmission and to keep the states with no case or few cases exactly that way. We have learned that the only way to do this is to test more people,” he said.

“The laboratory strategy group that is responding to this outbreak has set itself a target of testing two million people in the next three months. This is a very ambitious target.

“We are working very hard with our development partners and all our friends to equip our labs to be able to do this. It is going to cost us a lot of money but we can’t do this without a lot of collaboration from everyone.

“In countries that have achieved a lot more in terms of testing, like in South Africa that we always refer to, they have tested a lot more as a proportion of their population. We are lagging behind but now we have to catch up.

“In order to test two million people in three months across the country, we need to test about 50,000 per state, plus or minus depending on your population size. There is no other way we can do this. We need the cooperation and collaboration of every state government in Nigeria, every department of public health and the collaboration of the people living in these states.”

As of Monday evening, Nigeria had conducted over 11,000 tests. There are 1,337 cases of COVID-19 in the country, out of which 255 patients have been discharged and 40 have died.

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