Coronavirus: Inadequate test kits pose grave danger to Nigeria – Official

Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State tested positive to COVID-19[Photo: Bussiness Day]
Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State [Photo: Bussiness Day]

The Bauchi State Commissioner for Education, Aliyu Tilde, on Wednesday said Nigeria may not be able to handle a large Covid-19 outbreak due to a shortage of test kits.

Mr Tilde, who suspected he had been exposed to a positive patient, said he was unable to get tested because test kits brought to the state were not enough.

Mr Tilde was one of the state government officials suspected to have been in contact with the state governor, Bala Mohammed. The governor tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

Mr Mohammed had gone into isolation on Monday and took a Covid-19 test after confirming that he was in contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.

After he tested positive, aides and cabinet members who had been in contact with him were advised to self-isolate and get tested.

However, Mr Tilde on his Facebook page said he could not test for the virus Wednesday because the test kits brought from Abuja finished early. He said results for those tested on Tuesday would be available on Wednesday.

“I wonder what will happen when the virus reaches the community level and thousands need to be tested daily.

“I will resubmit myself today and pray that I will be lucky to get tested. I am in self-isolation at home anyway. No visitors into the house,” he wrote.

More tests kits

Mr Tilde told PREMIUM TIMES that the country needs to take testing seriously by having enough testing kits for the virus.

He said testing is” so essential at this stage to prevent spread.

” It seems Abuja does not have sufficient quantity or maybe not enough was ordered.

“Today, we expect more will come but preference has to be given to people who were in direct contact with the governor, not us, who were just us in his vicinity at meetings.

He also called for more testing centres to serve the northern part of Nigeria.

For now, Nigeria has five testing laboratories, three located in the south-west – (two in Lagos and one in Osun State), one in Abuja and one in Edo State. Abuja conducts testing for the North.

Mr Tilde, however, said ” for tests to be conducted only in Abuja for the entire Northern Nigeria shows that we have formidable challenges before us.

” We need to act fast and make all the necessary equipment and facilities available in all our local government headquarters if possible,” he said.

Careful

Mr Tilde hopes he would not test positive as he had been very careful with executing his duties in the past few days.

He said he is not sick and so far does not have any symptoms.

According to him, he has limited exposure, especially and limited trip as he was able to be part of the governor’s German trip.

He was, however, present when Mr Mohammed launched the 2,500 housing project at Dungal and at the Exco Chamber for stakeholders meeting on COVID-19 on Sunday.

The last event he said was attended by many traditional rulers and religious leaders in the state.

He said the governor did not shake hands with members of the public on both occasions but was close to many.

At the time of reporting, Lagos has recorded 30 cases, FCT – 8, Ogun – 3, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo and Osun have one each.

So far, most of the infected people are those who have recently returned to the country from high-risk countries.

Among the people who have tested positive to the disease in Nigeria are government officials and administrators. These include Bauchi State Governor Mohammed, and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

No response

Meanwhile, more cases are still expecting to be reported as the country has intensified contact tracing to get people who have had contact with infected patients.

The reporter, however, could not get a response from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on whether Nigeria has enough testing kits as the Director-General did not pick his calls.

However, the minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire had said earlier that the country is prepared to handle the Covid-19 outbreak.


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