Many Nigerians believe Covid 19 hasn’t been a concern.  However, according to Al Jazeera that is not the case. Since August of this year, it has been reported that around 205,000 people in Nigeria have contacted COVID-19; of that number, 2,700 have died.  

Like other countries, many Nigerian schools and businesses took a hit after the outbreak, resulting in delayed graduations and jobs losses.  And because of the dire situation, many students at universities, especially the University of Lagos, have resorted to desperate measures, such as lying about fake negative COVID results. 

Two students named Bolu and Veronica told the site they developed creative ways to get fake testing results.  Apparently, they paid someone at a medical lab 3,000 nairas ($7.30) as part of their scam.

“I don’t even know the [actual] person who did the result, I just paid to a friend who works in a laboratory, and then I got the result,’’ Veronica [not her real name] told the site Al Jazeera. “I just paid the money, and they sent me the result to my email,” Bolu [ not her real name] also told Al Jazeera. The alarming part was that neither of them had to go to a testing center.

“Most of the results [students submitted] were doctored. It was not like the school was confirming with the laboratories if the results were genuine or not. In fact, I could have just written any letter and submitted it,’’ said Veronica. Both students said the practice of faking test results for COVID-19 was a known fact on the college campus.

Many Nigerians have expressed concerns about the cost of COVID tests.

Clinics certified to administer the shots cost anywhere between 36,000 naira ($88 at the official exchange rate) and 50,400 naira ($123) out of pocket. The monthly minimum wage in Nigeria is only 30,000 naira ($73).

COVID-19 tests are free in government-owned hospitals in Nigeria, but students and medical professionals interviewed by Al Jazeera say that demand for them far outstrips supply, and that results can be delayed for days [File: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

Many students and some medical professionals said testing supplies are limited, and the results can take days to come back. 

“There is a shortage of the kits for reasons I don’t know,” the student told the site. “So, it will take them two or three days to supply us the sample kits, and to take the test again, it takes about three or four days to get the results out. That means we have been managing COVID blindly for like a week, which does not make sense.”

While the wait time might not seem unreasonable, it is for Nigerians. 30 percent are considered poor, and inflation rose to 17 percent.

“Most people cannot afford to pay 40,000 naira ($97) for one COVID-19 test. Imagine if you have to do several tests a month,” a student told the site.

But the director of Lagos State Bio-Bank, Dr. Bamidele Mutiu, told Al Jazeera locals can get a free COVID test at government clinics.   But Ifeanyi Nsofor, a public health expert and senior New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute, told the site the government is to blame.

“State governments and local councils must also invest in COVID-19 tests to reduce costs.  The overreliance on the federal government is unsustainable. It is time for health insurance companies in Nigeria to add COVID-19 tests to the list of things they cover.’’

Author

  • Spicy ray is the founder of the site and has a passion for writing developed in early childhood. His goal as a writer is to provide readers with inspiration, dedication, motivation, and critical thinking skills. He has a solid commitment to allowing writers to share their stories from a variety of backgrounds. He enjoys reading non-fiction, having tarot card readings, going to movies, and watching boxing in his free time.

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Spicy ray is the founder of the site and has a passion for writing developed in early childhood. His goal as a writer is to provide readers with inspiration, dedication, motivation, and critical thinking skills. He has a solid commitment to allowing writers to share their stories from a variety of backgrounds. He enjoys reading non-fiction, having tarot card readings, going to movies, and watching boxing in his free time.

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