The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has called for fast tracking of COVID-19 testing in the country using more innovative sample collection and transport strategies.
The Doctors association in a statement on Thursday by its President, Dr Francis Faduyile and Secretary General, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, said the current methods adopted by the government has not revealed the real impact of the virus in the country.
“While the NCDC has carried out only 29,400 tests, as of May 14, 2020, we appreciate the reasons advanced for the ‘smart testing’ option by the NCDC.
“However, it has become apparent that this method has not revealed the real incidence of COVID-19 in Nigeria. NMA, therefore, advocates fast-tracking of testing using innovative specimen collection and transport modalities to ameliorate this deficit in technique,” they said.
The NMA urged the government to take into consideration, Nigeria’s peculiarities before adopting the World Health Organization’s guidelines on home treatment of patients in the face of bed shortages at isolation centres.
“The association is carefully studying the overall impact of the newly approved WHO’s home treatment policy for COVID-19 patients. While accepting the noticeable acute shortage of bed spaces available at the designated centres, NMA cautions that the peculiarities in Nigeria should be taken into consideration and therefore urges FG to adapt this new regulation.
“Nigeria has an average of six persons per household; and consequently, wholesale adoption of this guideline may not be applicable here. We risk an explosive regime of community transmission if we adopt the guidelines completely without modifications, especially in situations of poor housing and overcrowding.
“Following from this, NMA is of the firm conviction that revamping our abandoned General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres will mitigate the challenges with home treatment and acute shortage of bed spaces.
“We still maintain that isolation and treatment centres should stand alone to avoid the nosocomial spread of this infection especially in settings of poor hygiene practices” the statement said.