Are Nigerians being asked to pay 1.2 million Naira for Coronavirus Testing?

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: A viral tweet by a Twitter user @coolfrancess on March 17th, 2020 alleged that the Lagos University Teaching Hospital  (LUTH) asked for 1.2 million Naira to test for Coronavirus disease.

FACT: This claim has been shared over 3,300 times on Twitter and liked by over 6,300 users.

Nigeria confirmed its first case of Novel Coronavirus on February 27, 2020, since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020.

CDD Fact-checkers reached out to the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (@NCDCgov) Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who also confirmed that the report was false. The NCDC is the government agency leading the government’s response to COVID-19 in Nigeria. To further explain this, the NCDC in an update after CDD contacted Dr Chikwe said ‘’Any person who meets the national case definition for #COVID19 is tested at NO COST in any of our five molecular laboratories with testing capacity in-country’’

In a response to enquiries made by Twitters users on its official handle on the allegation, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital through @LUTHOfficial said the test is free at the hospital but that the testing has to be at the request of the Consultant in charge of Infectious Disease Unit of the hospital.

The claimant did not provide additional information, like, when the event took place and the outcome of the exchange between the hospital and his alleged father’s cousin.

In a report published on March 16th 2020, Bloomberg said ‘’the current Covid-19 tests, known as PCR tests, detect the genetic material of the pathogen in a laboratory process that can take several hours and cost over $400 in some private facilities’’.

In Nigeria, there is no evidence there are private facilities that can conduct the test. The five laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19 are currently run by the government at various levels across Nigeria.

CONCLUSION

The claim that it costs 1.2million naira to conduct COVID-19 testing at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Nigeria is false. The purveyors of this claim are interested in causing panic among Nigerians on the outbreak of the Coronavirus.