The presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 says poverty has contributed to the success in Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19.
Nigeria confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on February 27, 2020, and as of September 15, while more than 50,000 infections have been recorded, over 40,000 patients have recovered.
Appearing before the joint senate committee on health and aviation on Tuesday, Sani Aliyu, PTF national coordinator, said the demography of African countries such as Nigeria, and the “aggressive” way the continent has tackled the pandemic, have contributed to the successes recorded.
Also present at the meeting was Osagie Ehanire, minister of health.
Smart Adeyemi, chairman of the senate committee on aviation, had expressed concern over the COVID-19 test protocols for international flight passengers, and called on the PTF to work out measures that would not negatively affect the economy.
“We cannot continue swallowing hook, line and sinker, measures being adopted to fight it in Europe, America, China and other foreign countries,” the senator said.
“There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there.
“In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the nation’s economy.”
Adeyemi said such measures were unfair to average Nigerians, who are forced to expend N75,000 on COVID-19 test.
“The amount is too high. It should be brought down and the public health institutions’ laboratories should be equipped to carry out the tests,” he added.
Biodun Olujimi, senator representing Ekiti south, who affirmed that Nigeria was succeeding in the fight against the pandemic, also called for a review of the COVID-19 protocols, considering the level of adherence across the country.
Responding on the country’s success in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aliyu said poverty and demography have played roles in reducing the infection rate across the country.
“The aggressive nature of African countries against the pandemic also helped tremendously in containing the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria and many of the African countries,” he added.