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Second Phase of COVID-19 Seroprevalence Survey Underway in Nigeria

A person conducts a COVID test while a person tips their head backward. Two others stand in the background.
A field worker collects a sample from a participant in the Federal Capital Territory.

The second phase of a COVID-19 seroprevalence study in Nigeria has begun in Kano State in Northwest Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The survey, which was previously conducted in Enugu, Gombe, Lagos, and Nasarawa States in the first phase of the COVID-19 epidemiological survey completed last fall, will help estimate COVID-19 prevalence across the two new states.

Ciheb received $900,000 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand the COVID-19 study into the second phase. The study is led by Dr. Kristen Stafford, associate professor of epidemiology and public health and Ciheb deputy director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Dr. Laura Steinhardt, CDC; and Mrs. Elsie Ilori, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The Government of Nigeria, CDC, Ciheb, and other state-level partners are leading the implementation of the survey.

Two people talk outside a home.
A data collector engages with a participant in Kuje in FCT.

The survey will collect blood samples in 68 enumeration areas[1] and test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Findings from the ongoing second phase of the study will help public health authorities scale up approaches to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Study participants are also receiving rapid malaria tests, and those who test positive for malaria receive treatment. Participants who test positive for COVID-19 are referred for free management and care. 

The Government of Nigeria through the NCDC is providing technical support and aiding the implementation of all planned activities for the survey by leading all structural advocacies, community mobilization, and critical planning of the survey. NCDC also facilitated the review and approval of the survey protocol. The Nigerian government, through its Ministry of Health, is also providing security for the field team during data collection.

Survey teams are already visiting households and collecting data and samples across enumeration areas in both Kano State and FCT. The response rate in the first few days of data collection has been appreciably high.

A person wearing protective equipment sits at a desk working with a person sitting next to them.
A sample being collected from a participant at Chika community in FCT.

"We have been engaging with traditional and religious leaders and through the various media channels. FCT and Kano residents are aware that the survey is to be conducted and are cooperating with the enumerators. The field staff have been trained to be courteous and respectful and to be able to explain the purpose of the survey in a manner that it will be easily acceptable," said Dr. Mathew Ashikin, director special duties, health and human services, FCT Administration, who also doubles as the chairman of the technical committee for the COVID-19 seroprevalence survey.

For local coverage of the second phase of the seroprevalence survey, see the ONTV report on the Access 24 news program. 


[1] "Enumeration areas are the operational geographic units for the collection, dissemination, and analysis of census data and are often used as a national sampling frame for various types of surveys." (World Bank Group)

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