COVID 19: Nigeria’s Response Stunted by Low Testing Rate, Buoyed by Low Case Fatality Ratio
Dr. Solomon Chollom,
Two years after the detection of the first case of SARS-Cov2 virus in Nigeria on 27th February 2020, the country has gone ahead to test about 4.5million people, and confirming the virus in 254, 945 of them. Sadly, 3, 142 of those infected with the virus have died according to data published on NCDC Microsite on 13th March, 2022.
Our correspondent who analysed the data alongside that of Africa CDC and WHO disclosed that although Nigeria has tested over 4.5million people, the number represents only about 2.1% of Nigeria’s population, asserting that the abysmal testing ratio represents an anticlimax in the country’s response strategy when assessed side by side with countries like South Africa (38%), Morocco (30%) and Zambia (18%). It also goes on to point to the fact that although Nigeria grew from having just 4 molecular biology testing labs to over 70, it is likely that we only grew by testing sites and not in testing capacity.
Further findings revealed that the testing capacity was stunted by the deployment of low throughput platforms as against the use of high throughput ones. Other possible reasons were weak surveillance and contact tracing system, lack of motivation of health professionals as well as the preponderance of negative publicity which characterized every step of the response
Interestingly, Nigeria has had 3,142 deaths from 254, 945 confirmed cases, accounting for a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1.2%, placing it at par with the United States of America (1.2%) and slightly above the United Kingdom (0.8%). Nigeria’s CFR however dwarfs that of African countries like South Africa (2.6%) and Tunisia (2.8%). It is not clear, however, if this variation is based on the treatment strategies deployed by various countries or due largely to peculiarity of immune systems of people in those countries or the strains of the viruses circulating in the regions.
Inspiration Publishers reports that it is important to have a holistic review of the strategic response to SARS-Cov2 in Nigeria and other countries in order to strengthen the weak areas and midwife a better response strategy in the future