Monday, February 15, 2021

COVID-19 tests: How private labs generated N6.54bn from foreign travellers in Nigeria

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tiamin rice

Private laboratories licensed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, for conducting COVID-19 tests have raked in more than N6.54bn from international travellers across the country.

Recall that the NCDC, Nigeria’s frontline agency for the fight of COVID-19 spread, had mandated travellers coming in and out of the country to undergo COVID-19 tests at the private laboratories rather than government health facilities.

Thus, findings by the PRNigeria reveals that ‘PCR test’, as its popularly called, costs between N36,000 and N50,400.

It was also gathered that about 35 private laboratories have been approved to conduct the test and they are believed to have realised about N6,547,1258,000 from 7,025 inbound travellers who made payment for post-arrival testing captured on the Federal Government’s portal as of December 21, 2020.

Recalled that the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, had at a briefing in Abuja disclosed that out of the 163,818 incoming travellers (then), 77,025 (47%) made payment for post-arrival testing.

“64,405 (84%) of the number are due for a post-arrival test, but only 44,189 (59%) of them got tested,” he had added.

According to him, about 20,216 travellers would be sanctioned for shunning COVID-19 test upon arrival.

He had said: “20,216 (31%) have not shown up for post-arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to.

“The PTF has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within the ambit of the law.”

Anambra, Edo, Enugu, Imo and Kano States each has one laboratory earmarked for testing inbound air passengers, while the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Lagos State, has nine and 20 laboratories, respectively.

Some of the fee-charging private labs include Synlab, 54Gene, E-clinic Diagnostics, Clina Lancet Laboratory, Accunalysis Medical Diagnostics, Biologix Support Services, Clinix Healthcare and Lily Clinics Hospital.

Others include E-Health Africa (EHA) Laboratory, Medicaid Laboratory, DNA Labs FCT, Everight Diagnostics, Health Africa (EHA) Laboratory, Zaine Lab, Arrive Alive Diagnostics, Medilag Consult Laboratories and LASUCOM Molecular Biology Laboratory.

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