This is piece originally ran on AsheNews.
Some stakeholders in the health sector on Thursday say Nigeria is ripe for self-testing of diseases for faster diagnosis and to enable self-care.
They said this at the Self-Testing Africa COVID-19 (STAR – COVID-19) project dissemination meeting in Abuja.
Launched in 2022 in the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the project is a market research funded by UNITAID with Population Services International (PSI) as the Lead Technical partner.
Mr Godpower Omoregie, the Director, Programme Delivery, Society for Family Health (SFH), said “self-testing is like putting power in the hands of the people to take responsibility for their health.
“This position was reached after the research which showed that Nigerians are ready for the self-care component of healthcare.
“From the information we gathered from this research, it is clear that Nigeria is ripe for self testing and we should ensure that we learn the lessons that this research provides to improve whatsoever we want to do in implementing self testing in Nigeria, not just for HIV, but also other forms of care.”
Omoregie also said that the concept was getting very common under the purview of self care within the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He explained that “for the STAR COVID-19 project, one of the things about it is the fact that we did not want to assume that because self-testing is working in other climes, then it will work in Nigeria; so we needed to use our own experiences to see how we could implement.
“We needed to look at health literacy; how well informed are the population about health, because being informed or educated is one thing, and being health literate is another thing.
“To introduce a commodity like self-testing, you need to find out if the people will accept, and
use it; and also find out if it is something they can afford, as well as its feasibility and what the peoples’ value preferences are.