A rights and advocacy group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Inter-society, has called on the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to step up its testing capacity, as that will unravel hidden cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The group in a letter it wrote to the Director-General of the centre, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, called on the centre to establish more COVID-19 testing centres in the country, asking that three centres be particularly established in Anambra State.
The group said the establishment of three testing centers in Anambra was imperative, with one in each of the three senatorial zones because of her population, and the recent relaxation of the lockdown order by the state governor.
The group which praised NCDC for the job it is doing said the centre should be commended, even though her efforts have not reached the acceptable standard.
“In the area of testing capacity, the country still disappointingly and acutely lags behind. With UN estimated population of 200 million, to have only 11,000 of its citizens tested is not a good record.
“In Africa, where Nigeria is said to be the giant of the continent, the country is widely surpassed by many in the areas of testing capacity and procurement of testing equipment and trained personnel.
“As at three days ago or on 25th April, 2020, available statistics showed that South Africa with 57.8m citizens, has tested over 161,000 persons, with 4,793 tested positive and 90 deaths (as at 27th April). Egypt with 98.4m citizens has tested over 90,000 with 4,319 tested positive and 307 deaths.
“Ghana with 29.7m citizens, has tested over 88, 188, with 1,550 tested positive and 11 deaths. Abysmally, Nigeria with 200 million citizens has only tested about 11,000 with 1,337 tested positive and 40 deaths. These are just to cite but a few.”
The group said more testing centres will help Nigeria beat the virus fast.