The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says Nigeria has tested over 4.5 million people, representing only about 2.1 per cent of the 215,266,984 population, according to the Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.
The NCDC, via its verified website on Tuesday, said the 4.5 million test done in the country was after two years of COVID-19 first detection on Feb. 28, 2020.
It said the testing ratio represented an anti-climax in Nigeria’s response strategy when assessed side by side with countries like South Africa (38 per cent), Morocco (30 per cent) and Zambia (18 per cent).
It said this has revealed that although Nigeria grew from having just four molecular biology testing laboratories to over 140, including private laboratories, the country only grew by testing sites and not in testing capacity.
The public health agency also confirmed that 254,945 people had tested positive to the virus, revealing that 3,142 of those infected with the virus had died, according to data published on NCDC Microsite on March 13.
Speaking to some experts on their reactions to the country’s response to COVID-19, a Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the country’s COVID-19 response was stunted by low testing rate and buoyed by low case fatality ratio.
One of them. Dr Solomon Chollom, pioneer National Secretary, Society for Scientists in Infections Diseases (SSID), said Nigeria’s testing capacity was stunted by the deployment of low throughput platforms as against use of high throughput ones.
“Other possible reasons are weak surveillance and contact tracing system, lack of motivation of health professionals and the preponderance of negative publicity which characterised every step of the response,” he said.
Chollom added that it was important that Nigeria had a holistic review of the strategic response to SARS-Cov2 and other countries.
He said this would help to strengthen the weak areas and midwife a better response strategy in the future.
Dr. Abigail Banji, a Health Economist, said that for Nigeria to continue to combat the COVID-19, all relevant agencies should focus their efforts to supporting four priority areas:
”Scale-up of vaccination, advance COVID-19 rapid antigen Self-Testing, access to COVID-19 treatment, and promote public health and social measures (PSMs),” she said.
Banji said this would allow the country achieve its priority goals, adding that there was need for sustainable collaboration.
She advised Nigerians that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 reduces the risk of contracting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to her, though new COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the decline globally, the pandemic is far from being over.
“There are still many countries with high rates of hospitalisation and deaths and low rates of vaccine coverage, and high transmission. The countries include Nigeria.
”The threat of a new and more dangerous variant remains very real,” she added. (NAN)