By Anthony AJERO
Health Minister Osagie Ehanire: “yesterday, (Wednesday) we had the highest number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and we are speedily ramping up testing capacity for the disease in Nigeria”. Sounds heartening, right?
That’s until you look at the numbers: testing capacity has gone up to 1, 500. While this is some progress from the 500 figure a few days ago, it flies in the face of testing’s central role in fighting this pandemic. The more testing, the more the infected are detected and treated. Futhermore, the more contacts are traced and brought in for testing. Thus, the rate of testing is at the core of managing the Corona virus. For a country of 200 million, 1,500 tests daily is akin to the proverbial ‘drop in the ocean.’ How quickly we build our testing capabilities is key in this battle.
Is there a lesson in the India’s community-based approach where 4,000 health workers were deployed into a community where one man had tested positive? It turns again on capacity and how prepared we were for this since December 31, 2019 when the W.H.O. officially named COVID-19. Remember: due to population and other socio-economic factors, India and Nigeria are expected to record very high COVID-19 numbers.
Tracing The Thousands
Last week, we were informed that a few thousand people were being traced for testing – around four thousand. These are people who had come into contact with infected cases. What are the numbers today? How many have been traced? How many are still roaming the society? What is being done to get them in for testing?
Lastline: That Akwa-Ibom and NCDC debacle – In a TNG News story titled “Akwa-Ibom raises suspicions over NCDC’s announcements, demands second tests,” the state government, through its Health Commissioner, Dominic Ukpong, demanded a “reconfirmation” of the announced cases. The grouse? There was “a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure” adopted by the Agency. In other words, the Governor/State was not pre-informed. Someone needs to tell these people to stop toying with people’s lives. This is not the time for power shows please.
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