The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has attributed increased testing to the reduction in COVID-19 infection rates across the country.
Speaking with Channels TV during Monday’s COVID-19 update, the DG said that the increased testing at state levels, especially within Lagos State, has led to a fewer number of people turning positive with those tested.
At the beginning of the pandemic, various models predicted a doomsday scenario for Nigeria & other African countries, yet fewer cases than expected have been recorded.
— NCDC (@NCDCgov) August 17, 2020
Nigeria is currently on its way to recording 50,000 cases with 49,068 cases so far. There have been 36,447 recoveries and 975 deaths. This gives Nigeria a survival rate of 7 out of 10.
The DG urged that Nigerians need to understand that the figures are real and not manipulated, adding that the world is in a new era of information where every bit of information is analyzed. This, he said, has enabled a global response as the world has never experienced a virus with this scale of economic impact.
Speaking further, the DG said that labs are not the reason for the initial low testing capacity. Instead, the low testing environment is way beyond NCDC’s capacity, as testing challenges include organizing and transporting samples for test, and sending the results back to Nigerians.
He acknowledged that people have trust issues with the system, but stressed that Nigerians need confidence in the public health sector. He then called for a bottom-up approach in fixing state healthcare with stakeholders from the public and private health industry.
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The DG said the reduced deaths is down to the hard work of the Presidential Covid-19 response team and highlighted 2 strategic goals for the response team which includes controlling the pandemic and upgrading health infrastructure.
The DG says Nigeria is working with the African Union on a vaccine strategy to ensure global vaccine access, and says Nigeria has delivered life savings vaccines with the eradication of polio and has the necessary experience in delivering vaccines to rural and urban areas.