Nigerians on coronavirus infection watch list now have to wait for a week or more to get their results, Daily Trust investigation has shown.
Many people who are anxious to know their status have to endure days of uncertainty and trauma, Daily Trust correspondents from across the states report.
States without testing centres also face challenges sending samples to Abuja or other neighbouring states, while health officials work under pressure to collect samples while managing the suspecting cases before the release of the results.
Checks by Daily Trust revealed that the delay, which in most cases takes over one week has put suspected victims, their families and healthcare givers on the edge. Some patients die or their conditions get worse while others recover from their symptoms before the results arrive with experts saying the development was aiding community transmission and complication, making efforts to stem spread impossible.
A source at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), however said the time of results depends on factors such as quantity of samples to be tested and the distance for the sample to reach the lab. The Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, had during a briefing on March 31, said “It takes 24 to 48 hours for a coronavirus test to be done and the result released.”
Daily Trust reporters observed that NCDC engages the services of some transport firms for its logistics. It has unveiled two mobile labs in Lagos and Ogun, with the third donated by Dangote for Kano.
That notwithstanding, Nigeria’s capacity to test for COVID-19 is still below one percent as it strives to protect its population of over 200 million people.
The test rate is also behind what obtains in Ghana, South Africa and other countries battling the pandemic. A comparative data analysis of the people so far tested in Nigeria after nearly three months of the outbreak is just 0.02 per cent.