Minister of state for health, Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, on Monday, March 30 disclosed that it costs the Nigerian government about N10,000 to conduct a COVID-19 test on one individual. Mamora, a graduate of medicine and surgery from the University of Ife, stated that the testing method by the government is the World Health Organization (WHO) validated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which produces an accurate result.
Mamora made the comment while speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
He said the government was, however, not worried about the cost but the accuracy of the result, hence the insistence on real-time PCR equipment. The minister maintained that the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits has not been approved in Nigeria because the WHO has not validated it. His words: “I don’t have the exact figure but I was meant to understand that it costs about N10,000 or thereabout to run the test. I am not too sure about the figure. “But even if at N10,000, you can just imagine the huge financial involvement given the number of people that want to be tested. “Perhaps, that was why people are coming up with RDTs but we have reservation about it. It’s not WHO validated, it’s mostly based on anti-bodies that would be identified in the blood. “Also, the margin of error is quite high. PCR remains the most reliable method of testing for an accurate result.”
Meanwhile, the Northern Solidarity Front has berated the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for not doing enough in sensitising Nigerians on the dangers associated with the dreaded coronavirus. The group was reacting to a news report by an international news outlet, the Al Jazeera, citing the lack of sensitization in Nigeria regarding the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world. In a press statement released to journalists in Abuja and signed by its leader, Garuda Ahmed on Friday, March 27, the group lambasted the NOA for “sitting idle instead of carrying out the main objectives.” In a related development, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Lukman, has asked Nigerians to support some of the initiatives put in place at different levels of government to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
He said the earlier Nigerians appreciate and support the government to win the COVID-19 battle now the better.