This is piece originally ran on The Guardian Nigeria.
By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
Stakeholders in the health sector have advocated the deployment of self-testing kits in tackling the high diseases burdens in the country.
They observed that promotion of the use of self testing kits will enhance early detection and early treatment of diseases and in turn reduce the high mortality and morbidity rates in the country.
Speaking at the Self-Testing Africa COVID-19 (STAR – COVID-19) project dissemination meeting, yesterday, in Abuja, the Director, Programme Delivery, Society for Family Health (SFH), Mr Godpower Omoregie, observed that Nigerians are ripe for self-testing of diseases, stressing that it will help in faster diagnosis and to enable self-care.
Omoregie stated that self-testing concept is getting very common under the purview of self care within the World Health Organisation (WHO), adding that self-testing is like putting power in the hands of the people to take responsibility for their health.
He noted that the STAR COVID-19 project was launched in 2022 in the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that the project is a market research funded by UNITAID with Population Services International (PSI) as the lead technical partner.
According to him, the research conducted in the FCT showed that Nigerians are ready for the self-care component of healthcare.
Also speaking, National Vice Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Mrs Bridget Otote, urged the Federal Government to either subsidise or make self testing kits for COVID-19 and all other diseases free to Nigerians.
Otote said that people are now beginning to accept COVID-19 as a normal ailment just like HIV, as clients now walk into pharmacies or chemists to ask if the test kits were available.
Dr John Bamba, the Director of Research, Zankli Research Centre, Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, said that based on the results of the research, self testing has come to stay because there was now emphasis on patient-centred care.
He, however, said it is not the same as self medication “because self medication is taking drugs without prescription or outside prescription.