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COVID-19: How Abuja residents spend hours to conduct test at ThisDay Dome

...Delay caused by inadequate manpower - Staff at centre


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RESIDENTS of Abuja spend hours inside the sun to conduct COVID-19 test at the ThisDay Dome, Abuja, The ICIR observed on Monday.

Our reporter visited the centre and met dozens of people, many of who sat on a bare floor, waiting to their samples to be taken.

Apparently resigning to fate, they remained in the sun, scorched,  sweating profusely.

Only a few plastic chairs were available for people to sit on at the centre, but the attendants cocooned themselves under the shade of a tarpaulin where they take data and samples of people who come for the test.

It appeared the staff of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) got directive to ensure they have the test done, as they formed the majority of people at the centre on Monday.

Abuja residents waitng to be tested for Covid at ThisDay Dome, FCT.

They hailed one another as each employee took his turn for the samples.

“It is such a rigorous process; we deserve the praise for our patience,” one of the staff told her colleagues, after getting her samples taken.
Our reporter noted that people at the centre maintained social distancing and put on nose mask.

The attendants were also courteous.

It took each person at least four hours to get his samples taken, according to our findings.

Taking the samples did not take more than five minutes, but the wait for it took hours. Two samples were taken from each person: one from the mouth and the other from each of the nostrils.

Upon arrival at the centre, each person that came for test was given a number and asked to sit. It could take three hours for the person to be called for his samples to be taken. He would be strongly advised not to leave the premises. He would also be given an “EPID” number. The EPID number makes it important for every person that comes for test to ensure his samples are taken.

There were only four attendants at the centre; all young ladies. They blamed the delay on the shortage of staff.

They were quick to tell whoever bothered to complain that they were understaffed and could do nothing to help the situation.

One of them who spoke with our reporter said they used to be six at the centre, but two had left. She declined to give her name.

She said one of her colleagues left after she got wedded and the second person was indisposed.

“One of our staff was down. Tomorrow we hope she will be returning. We were six before, two people left; we are four now.

Asked why the staff that left were not replaced, she said: “Is it my duty to replace them?” When pressed further if they made a recommendation to the authorities over the shortage of manpower, she stated: “They know. They are aware of it. Our own is to come and do our work.”

Speaking on his experience after a long wait for his samples to be taken, one of the people who came for the test at the centre said: “I cannot talk about it because the “experience was too horrible.”

His colleague, who angrily boarded the same car with him volunteered to speak: “I’ve been here since 12 pm. We were asked to sit. After a while, we were given a number, and my number was 58. I waited from 12 pm to about some few minutes to 4 pm before they finally took the samples from me. I don’t know when the result will be out, hopefully in the next couple of days.

“They got our details, email, address, names and date of birth. I pray they do the right thing; that doesn’t give the result of one person to another.”

Like western countries battling with winter and cold-induced second wave of COVID-19, Nigeria has been recording higher confirmed cases of the pandemic in the past few days.

As of Monday evening, the country had 69,255 confirmed cases and 1,180 deaths from the disease.

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