The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has been advised to increase its processes and capacity for capturing and reporting COVID-19 related data before disseminating to the public. This advice was given in a report released by Know COVID-19 Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation led by two Nigerian youths, fighting fake news and misinformation around the virus since March, 2020. The report is one of the monthly reports being published by the organisation to enlighten stakeholders on progress made and where strategies need to be tweaked for total containment and elimination of the virus. The group captures the discrepancies thus:
In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Nigeria, it’s been said that information and statistics are one of the best tools to fight the pandemic successfully. Thus, Nigerians have relied on the daily updates by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and their respective States government response Teams for genuine information about confirmed, active, recovered and death cases in the country. However, there have continuously been series of discrepancies and errors in the report given by NCDC and some state government.
For instance, NCDC may report a case already announced by a state government on a different date or vice versa. Also, NCDC, sometimes, will not update the public on transferred cases from one state to another. Some states government also fail to confirm NCDC reports while others give a different report and statistics that contradict the NCDC reports. This lack of coordination has created a lot of preventable discrepancies in the COVID-19 data management system in Nigeria.
Some Discrepancies in the Centre’s Data Management
- Katsina State Government announced the discharge of 4 patients from their facility on 25th of April. This was duly reported in the NCDC report on 25th and 26th of April but has was deleted from their report since 27th of April.5
- Ondo state government confirmed five new cases between Saturday and Sunday, 25-26th of April 2020. The Governor made this known in a statement he gave to reporters on the 27th of April stating that two persons were confirmed in the state on 25th of April and three persons on the 26th of April. However, NCDC did not report the confirmed cases on the 25th of April for the state but the confirmed cases of 26th were reported. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in Ondo state increased in the NCDC report without the announcement of new cases by the state or the NCDC from 28th to 30th of collation, management and use. With discrepancies in the number of cases being reported by NCDC and states Response Teams, the credibility of data is diminished. It becomes expedient for NCDC to be a central coordinating agency and should be able to manage case reportage both at federal and state levels. Therefore, NCDC requires more capacity development to execute their tasks and mandate.
- On the 26th of April, NCDC reported that six persons were discharged from Lagos State Infectious Disease Facility. Meanwhile, the state government always announce all developments in the state. However, no announcement was made by the state on that date to corroborate NCDC’s announcement. Thereafter, NCDC has been having an additional six figures to the total number of discharged persons reported by the state government. For instance, the total number of discharged persons reported by the Lagos State government as at 2nd of May, 2020 was 247 but it was 253 in the NCDC update.