Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, the Honorable Minister of state for health in Nigeria, on Monday, March 30 made it publicly known that Nigerian government spend about N10,000 to conduct a COVID-19 test on one individual.
Dr Mamora, a graduate of medicine and surgery from the University of Ife ( now Obafemi Awolowo University) stated that the testing method by the government is the World Health Organization (WHO) validated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which produces an accurate result.
The Minister made the comment while speaking to journalists in Abuja, yesterday when the newsmen questioned him about the low rate of testing for the virus in the country.
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.”
He said the earlier Nigerians appreciate and support the government to win the COVID-19 battle now the better.
It will be recalled that some Nigerians have called out the government for turning them back when requested to be tested for the novel virus.