Why COVID-19 treatment cost is high, medical experts explain

September 13, 2020

AMID raging controversy trailing the claim by some state governors that they spend between 500,000 and N1 million naira to treat a victim of COVID-19 in their respective states, medical experts, on Saturday, lifted the lid on the claim, saying the likely cost of treating a patient of COVID-19 varies from N300,000 to N1.5 million, patient, depending on its severity, type of drugs prescribed and how long the patient spends on admission at the isolation centres.

Nigerians had reacted angrily to a statement credited to the Lagos State government, claiming that it spends an average of N1 million daily on each patient with severe coronavirus just as Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, recently came under attack following his claim that his government spends at least N400,000 to treat a COVID-19 patient in the state.

Speaking to Sunday Tribune on Saturday, Deputy Chairman, Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, Professor Temitope Alonge stated that the cost of treating a COVID-19 patient in Oyo State varies from about N300, 000 to about N600,000 depending on the patient’s length of stay and the load of the virus.

He stated that this cost varies because it covers the individual having COVID-19 test at least three times at about N55,000 each, feeding twice in a day while on admission for even up to four weeks, drugs, some are placed on a ventilator, physiotherapy care and other modes of treatment.

According to Professor Alonge, “the cost of treatment varies from about N300, 000 to about N600,000 depending on their length of stay and the load of the virus.”

The COVID-19 Incident Manager in Ogun state, Dr Kayode Soyinka, stated that the cost of treatment in Ogun State depends on whether the patient is managed at home or at the COVID-19 isolation point.

According to Dr Soyinka, “If someone has COVID-19 alone and we are managing him because he tested positive and he is asymptomatic, that is straightforward. But if this patient is admitted, definitely, the other problems that this patient may have also need to be managed.

“From June 16, 2020, we discovered that 86 per cent of our patients had mild symptoms and some of them had no symptoms; so we have swapped from isolation treatment to home management. Between N5, 000 and N10, 000 will take care of the drugs that are required under home management of just COVID-19 treatment alone. This does not include the cost of COVID-19 tests.”

Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Professor Adewale OlomuMusa said that at FMC, Abeokuta, which houses one of the isolation centres in Ogun State, the cost of management is on the average between N450,000 and N750,000.

He added, that for COVID-19 patients with other persisting medical conditions, the cost of treatment might cost as high as N1.5 million where the patient may be on a ventilator, requires oxygen or other treatment modalities like kidney dialysis when the kidney is affected.

According to Professor Olomu-Musa, “if you are using antiviral drug with your treatment regime, fluids and so on and all those things will determine the cost, so these are some of the things that will be built into the cost.

“But on the average, the cost is between N450,000 and N750,000 and if eventually, it involves co-morbidity, facilities at the intensive care unit like the ventilator.


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