COVID-19: Open land borders, test people for free – Scientist to Government

The president of West African Postgraduate College of Medical Laboratory Science (WAPCMLS), Professor Nafiu Amidu is calling on government to mount testing at the land borders and test people for free since the continue closure of the border is having a toll on families and peoples livelihood.

“I believe once we are able to do the testing at the land borders, we don’t have any reason to close it again because a lot of peoples livelihood depends on the borders so if you mount the testing freely they will be able to test and if you are found negative, then you will be able to cross the border and carry-out your activities without any challenges”

According to Prof. Amidu, individual countries have done enough to be able to combat covid-19 within their respective countries “but looking at Africa or West Africa, our borders are not well controlled so no matter how much effort government put in combating covid-19, people are going to continue crossing through the unapproved borders and re-infecting people and create problem and thwart all that efforts”.

“Government need to be able to build the capacity to mount testing centres at the land borders to be able to test.  When people know this, they will not have enough reason to pass through unapproved borders”. He said

Prof. Amidu continued that “government need to be ready for cross border effect, we have done a lot by mounting testing sites at the Airports but looking at how many people pass through the Airports and the number of people who pass through the unapproved borders a day, you will see that our effort are not enough”. He added

Prof. Amidu said considering the number of unapproved borders around the borders of the country, government cannot monitor all these unapproved borders and even the official entry points, and that government should open the land borders just as it’s done at the Airports and test people for free.

“On arrival at the Airports, you are tested, on the land borders why can’t people be tested and when they are found negative, they are able to cross to continue with their business”. He queried

He added that government should be reminded that the borders cannot continue to be closed when it is propagating free trade in Africa.

Prof. Amidu further added that testing should be the way to go in the fight against covid-19.

“We need to test, test and test because that is the only basis upon which we can diagnose, treat, monitor and be able to monitor people coming in or out of the country”.

He said government should pay more attention to the training and practice of medical laboratory science in the country because yesterday, it was Ebola, today we are currently battling with covid-19 stressing that we do not know the nature of the disease that will come up and we need to be ready and it has been proven that the bedrock of every disease is diagnosis for which reason there need to be standard laboratories in the country.

“We should not repeat what happened in the early stages of covid-19 where government limited the testing centres to some areas because today, people who are sick of covid-19 are not going to walk to those limited centres, they are going to the hospitals and clinics so in readiness of any future disease outbreak, hospitals and clinics must be well equipped with standard laboratories”.

Prof. Amidu was however worried that until now, people has not realized the vital role that medical laboratory scientists play in diagnosis.

“Covid-19 has revealed that without the medical laboratory scientist to do the diagnosis, it will be very difficult to identify, monitor and treat and monitor how patients are responding to treatment”.

WAPMLS is also calling on government to devote some budgetary allocation to ensure that there are enough high standard laboratories in the country.

Professor Nafiu Amidu made the comments at the 2021 annual general and scientific meeting of medical laboratory scientist in West Africa held in Accra today Saturday July 17, 2021.

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