COVID-19: FCT to conduct Sero Prevalence Survey

Gloria Essien, Abuja


The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the University of Maryland Baltimore, Nigerian office is poised to commence Household COVID-19 Sero Prevalence Survey.

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The survey is expected to collect data of persons that would have had COVID-19 in the FCT, without knowing it.

According to the Director Special Duties, Health and Human Services, FCTA, Chairman technical Committee for the COVID-19 Sero-survey implementation Dr. Matthew Ashikeni, training has been ongoing for staff who are expected collect data and carry out the research.

He said that the FCT is making sure that people who are going to participate are properly trained and equipped for the task.

He noted that participants were being impacted with all the knowledge and skills, the techniques that they will need to have to be able to conduct the survey successfully in the FCT.

First of all the participants are categorized into two groups. We have the laboratorians, who are people who are already trained in the field of medical laboratory with experience in the necessary requirements, skills to conduct laboratory tests because they have to take specimen from the nose, from the throat as well as blood samples for COVID-19 tests as well as for Malaria test. So, they must be people who have prerequisite qualifications as laboratory scientist. Secondly, they need to be people who are familiar with the fact, so that they can move around the FCT” Dr. Ashikeni said.

He noted that apart from impacting knowledge, participants are evaluated to ascertain their capacity to communicate, see their language ability and basic educational qualifications.

There’s another group who are the team lead. They should be able to communicate, have a good attitude and be able to conduct themselves in a manner that would not be offensive to respondents”. He said.

He also said that “FCT residents are aware that the survey is being connected and are willing to cooperate with the enumerators once it commences. The staff have been trained to be courteous and respectful to gain the confidence of households”.

Dr. Ashikeni however added that people who refuse to be interviewed will not be penalised as the survey would be voluntary.

The survey is sponsored by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and is to be executed by University of Maryland Baltimore, Nigerian office.

Director COVID-19 Sero-survey, University of Maryland Baltimore, Nigerian office, Dr. Emem Iwara, says the survey is going to give Nigeria an idea of the number of persons that would have had COVID.

She noted that it is to be carried out in selected Households in the six area councils in the FCT

The Zero Prevalence Survey is going to give us an idea of the number of persons that would have had COVID-19 over the past six months. You know a lot of persons might have had COVID-19 without necessarily knowing that they have it because the symptoms are similar to what people have when they have Malaria or other illnesses. So, this survey will give a true picture of the persons that would have had COVID-19 because we testing for the antibodies not for people that have COVID-19 currently. So the anti bodies are developed once someone has COVID-19 and it could be there for a period of three yo six months” Dr. Iwara said.

She said that in every household, every individual is eligible to participate in the survey despite their ages.

She said that the survey has already done been conducted in three states and the response rate was really successful and it is hoped the FCT would be as successful too.

Adding that the successes recorded was as a result of the collaboration of the media, traditional and religious leaders.

The Sero Prevalence Survey is expected to kick off from the first week of June 2021.

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