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Why there are errors in Nigeria’s COVID-19 data – SGF

Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), says the few errors recorded in the data on COVID-19 is because of Nigeria’s dialogue approach in handling samples.

Mustapha, who is the chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19, said the process of collecting and handling the data is usually rigorous and tedious.

On more than five occasions, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has admitted announcing erroneous figures on COVID-19.

On Sunday, the agency had said seven cases it announced from Jigawa were previously confirmed infections in the state.

At the PTF briefing on Monday, the SGF spoke of the “difficult” process of handling COVID-19 samples which he saw during his visit at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja.

“First, you disinfect them because they come in different shapes. And sometimes, at the point of collections in the various states, the samples are not handled very well,” he said.

“So, you first have to reorganise them, decontaminate it, take it in for processing and sorting out. They come manually because forms are filled in the different locations where they are collected with the full details of the persons. That identification has to be given for each of the samples before it is even transmitted to where the entire processes will begin.

“So, it is a very rigorous, tedious and painstaking exercise; it is a very difficult process. At that point, you need all the diligence and concentration so that you don’t mix-up the samples.

“And to my greatest surprise, it is not only COVID-19 they are dealing with; they are dealing with different other thins such as Ebola, HIV, all manners of samples brought from all across the nation.

“Even the distinction of these different samples is a lot of hard work. So, the minor errors obviously because of the analogue system we still practise; our processes are not digitised.

“We collect manually, we fill forms with biro and paper. But as they transcend, they begin to catalogue it in a system.”

Mustapha also urged states to ensure adequate security at isolation centres and in their boundaries, adding that tend of patients escaping from isolation centres must be stopped.

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