Covid-19: An Insight On The Cost Of Testing In Nigeria

As COVID-19 vaccination continues to be at the centre of discussion in the world right now, African countries like Nigeria still struggle to make Covid-19 testing affordable and accessible to both rich and poor.

While Covid-19 tests are made available for free in some African countries, others like Nigeria require its citizens to pay for the test.

According to the information on official website of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Covid-19 tests in Nigeria costs between N36,000 to N50,400 ($130), a country where a total of 40.1 percent of its population live in poverty.

This payment also applies to nationals returning to the country as they are compelled to take a COVID-19 test before they travel to any parts of the country.

An independent investigation by Twentyten Daily revealed that some nationals purchased Covid-19 results at the airport for less the price it costs to get tested.

In a country of 208,902,585, the NCDC has reported that as at Thursday, January 21, 2020, only 1,198,758 samples had been tested.

Here is a list of 5 African countries with the highest Covid-19 cases and the cost of testing:

South Africa

South Africa has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that it was because the country embarked on massive testing. The total number of cases in the country stands at 1,296,806.

The country charges $71 for testing in private centres while it is still free at government centres.


Morocco has recorded a total number of 456,334 cases and the Covid-19 test costs MAD 680 ($74).


Tunisia has recorded a total number of 170,895 cases and the Covid-19 test costs Sh230,000 or $100.


Tunisia has recorded a total number of 153,741cases and the country charges $30 for the test.


Ethiopia has recorded a total number of 129,922 while testing costs is $45.

Recently, the Commissioner for Health for Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed on Twitter that the state government had conducted 263, 358 valid COVID-19 sample tests since inception of the pandemic.

Lagos which is only one state out of 36 states in Nigeria houses a population estimated at 14,368,000. This leaves the question of how many positive Covid-19 results would be established if Covid-19 testing was made affordable to its populace.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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