COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA: A REVIEW OF THE FIRST THREE MONTHS
Background: The world is still grappling with COVID-19 and African countries are no exception. Despite a slow beginning, cases in Nigeria are starting to soar, affecting more states and draining more resources. To ascertain the current state of the epidemic, we followed the disease as it progressed from index case to the first three months and compared it with selected African and Asian countries, highlighting major policies and actions taken to control it.
Methods: Using publicly available data on COVID-19 from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Taiwan, we plotted graphs of confirmed cases for each country using Microsoft Excel. In the case of Nigeria, data was segregated to further highlight within country variations in disease prevalence. Cumulative number of tests done, total number of confirmed cases and fatalities for each country were used to compute both test positivity and case fatality rates.
Result: Nigeria was seeded from Europe late February and cases have steadily risen to 15,181 as at June 12 with 9,891 (65.2%) active cases, 4,891 (32.2%) recoveries and 399 (2.6%) fatalities. Cases were more prevalent in Lagos (45%), Federal Capital Territory (8%) and Kano (7%). In the first three months of the epidemic, Nigeria’s cumulative testing was the least among the four countries compared, had the highest test positivity rate (17.2%) and case fatality rate (2.9%).
Conclusion: Cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria are on the increase with some states bearing a disproportionate burden. There is urgent need for scaling up testing capacity to identify cases, resource mobilization and capacity building to manage them, and effective risk communication to better engage the public on key prevention strategies.Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Nigeria, coronavirus, pandemic