Covid19, the pandemic plaguing the world right now was introduced to Nigeria by the Italian index case on the 27th of February 2020.
Here I’ll try to analyse, draw conclusions and recommend some actions that should be taken by the government from the index case till date. It’s been two months, two weeks and one day, and in this space of time, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control has conducted a measly 21,835 tests amidst a teeming populace of over 200million people.
Further more, 4,145 have tested positive. This means an average of 18.9% of the tests have been positive.
What this means is, approximately 150 people have been tested per 1 million people. These are really low values if we want to be on top of the Covid19 situation in the country.
Let’s look at the breakdown of cases per month since the arrival Covid-19 from 27/02/20- 25/03/20, the reports, for the most parts were in the single digits and we recorded a total of 223 cases in Nigeria.
This was the virus infancy in the country.
A time in which the government should have been poised to take drastic testing regiments, nonetheless.
Now looking at the second month of the virus’ stay in the country, and we were recording an average 23 cases a day. A huge jump from from the previous month. At this point we were on the verge of community spread, but I believe we were already there. This is because the prerequisite for getting tested by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control was a recent flight history and close contact with one who has had.
In the space between 26/03/20 – 20/04/20, we recorded a total of 614 cases, that is almost 3 times what was recorder prior.
Finally, examining from the 21/04/20 to date, there has been a surge in the cases being reported. On the low end, cases were 64 a day, and on the higher end, we record upwards of 250 cases a day. Latest reports from the NCDC is troubling to say the least, and its on this premise, I make the following recommendations. In the three mini epicenters (Lagos, Kano, FCT) we have in the country, the assumption should be that everyone is a possible Covid19 carrier and community testing should begin.
Secondly a revision to our testing regiment with emphasis on rapid testing schemes. In a recent study by Yale University School of Public Health, it was discovered that saliva yields better results when testing and it can be easily collected from patients without much risk.
Finally, locking people in their homes hasn’t worked as we all have seen. The government should employ different strategies i.e walk/drive through testing centers, decontamination chambers (phone booths lookalike) at most public spaces in line with what we already have.
Let’s not play catch up with the virus, because it might be too late then.