Journalism of Courage

COVID-19: Drama as Benue woman index case refuses third test in Nigeria


…insists on being tested by WHO says Minister


Mrs Susan Idoko, the index case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Benue State, who was transferred to Abuja, has refused to take the third test that will certify her fit to go home after several pleas, says Heath Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire.


Instead she insisted that the test should be taken by World Health Organization in UK and not in Nigeria.


The minister was responding to a question on why Idoko has to go through a third test at Tuesday’s media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.


Ehanire said: “That seems to be a very difficult order and it demands that it should be taken to the UK and that the specimen must only be taken by the WHO. So it is becoming a very hot drama.


“Despite meeting all her demands to see all her results, she has continued to come up with impossible requests.


“The lady at the National Hospital who we have been engaging with has refused to take the third.


“The history I think is already known that she came in from the UK and has had three tests, she is due for another test which she has refused to take.


“We strongly believe that by now she is definitely negative but we need to document it because we also work with it guidelines released by World Health Organization which we follow but in order to document it, I called her on phone and persuaded her to just let them take the test and she gave me the condition that first, they must give her all her results from the past then she will agree just to take a specimen.


“Those of you here who have done it know how simple it is and I gave the instruction. They took all her results, photocopied all of them and gave them to her.’’


The minister said on the day of the test she told NCDC that she wanted the test to be taken by World Health Organization and then the test should not be done in Nigeria.


“It was reported to me so I called her again and asked her why have you changed the conditions? You said you wanted your results, you have your results and she wrote a text to me saying I should consult her lawyer that she has gotten a lawyer, so that was just yesterday. So we are going to continue with the lawyer business.


“But is only just a document that she is okay and to live on, it seems to be a drama that is playing out there.


“So that is the situation with the lady but she is quite well, she is in good health and the hospital authorities have also done their very best,’’ he explained.


On infection of health workers, Ehanire said no new infection among them, adding that those who have recovered are waiting for certification to resume work.


The PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, also told the briefing that the Madagascar cure for COVID-19 would be subjected to the normal regulatory processes to establish the drug’s efficacy and safety for Nigerians.

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