By Jonathan Ugbal
A brief analysis of the general fact sheets published by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in its Situation Reports (SitRep) suggests that the Cross River state government may not have sent the sample of late lawmaker, Godwin Akwaji for COVID-19 test.
The NCDC publishes a daily situation report on its COVID-19 microsite, covid19.ncdc.gov.ng and the general fact sheet sometimes, contains the number of test samples sent by states among other data.
The testing breakdown published in SitRep 80 on May 18, 2020, showed the state had sent only seven samples for testing. This represented 0.02 percent of the 35,983 tests carried out as at then.
In SitRep 109, published on June 16th, the number increased to eight samples sent for testing. This represented 0.01 percent of the 103,799 tests carried out as at then.
Now, Mr. Akwaji, a lawmaker representing Obudu state constituency in the state’s House of Assembly passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at the isolation center of the UCTH.
On Friday, June 20, 2020, the health commissioner and Chairman, COVID-19 taskforce in the state, Dr. Betta Edu announced that his test result returned negative for COVID-19.
But, SitRep 116, published on June 23rd showed the samples sent remained just eight. This represented 0.01 percent of the 120,108 tests carried out as at then.
The most recent, SitRep 123 published on June 30th also showed the samples sent for test remains eight. This also represented 0.01 percent of the 138,462 tests carried out as at then.
In May, Taiwo Adebulu of Cable Newspapers who beat the interstate lockdown and traveled from Lagos to Cross River, had in his reporter’s diary said that weeks after his sample was reluctantly taken, the result is yet to be announced, suggesting that not all samples taken were sent to NCDC certified laboratories for analysis.
The Nigerian Medical Association and several other unions and individuals have accused the state of playing games and deliberately refusing to test suspected cases, an allegation the state refuted and accused the medics of allowing patients to die due to negligence of duty and politicking with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state had also accused the Federal Government of trying to sneak in positive samples to ensure the state has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
However, following the ease of lockdown, the state turned around and commended the federal government, announcing the handover of the state to the federal government.
The state has also announced that it has begun sample collection and testing at the Dr. Lawrence Henshaw memorial hospital ik Calabar despite reports that the Gene Xpert machines are yet to be reconfigured to test for COVID-19.
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