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COVID-19 test kits now being sold in black markets, NCDC raises alarm

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, Thursday said Nigerians have started selling COVID-19 diagnostic test kits in “black markets”.

Speaking at the Presidential Task Force briefing on Thursday in Abuja, Ihekweazu raised alarm over the selling of Covid-19 test kits in black market, warned those who are desperate for test to be careful.

He also called for caution as industries gear up to reopen for businesses. The NCDC DG said there was currently a lot of pressure as companies seek to test their employees before they resume work.

Ihekweazu warned Nigerians to be cautious while purchasing diagnostic test kits.

“It is important that as we open our industries, we really think about the measures that we advise everyone to carry out and leave testing for the purpose for which it is there.”

“There is a growing black market on rapid diagnostics test kits in Nigeria, we have to be careful in what we buy, how we use it and how we interpret the results that they provide,” he said.

He also disclosed that the Nigeria private-sector coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) donated N47 million to support sample transportation to boost testing.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government also expressed worries as hospitals refuses to treat Nigerians with other ailments and that other ailments was causing more death than COVID-19.

The government also said it was considering locking down areas where there are increasing rate of infections, as opposed to state-wide lockdown.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who raised the alarm at the PTF daily briefing in Abuja, also lamented that even federal tertiary hospitals were in the forefront of the rejection of patients.

According to him “The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear of COVID-19. This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics have shown that there is a drastic drop in the attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.

‘’This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID. This not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.

“The Minister of Health has reached out to all medical directors, directing them to continue providing regular medical services, so we do not end up with avoidable deaths. Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID-19.

‘’The reason for the greater emphasis on COVID 19 is that it is a pandemic and if not curtailed, has a capacity of wiping out large segments of our population.

“The PTF also urges all the Chief Medical Directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges which continue to confront our people on a daily basis.”

 
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