Below are the Current Lists of Medical Care Expenses of common lab tests in Nigeria 2024

medical care
medical care

As the Nigerian government strives to prioritize the health of its citizens, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the financial dynamics surrounding common lab tests becomes crucial.

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This feature delves into the intricacies, providing insights that empower individuals to make informed choices regarding their healthcare expenditures.

While the spotlight often falls on the costs of lab tests, it is essential to recognize that the clinical benefits of these tests are equally significant. In Nigeria, laboratory tests serve as crucial tools for making informed clinical decisions.

These tests play a multifaceted role, encompassing disease prevention for at-risk patients, early detection, accurate diagnosis establishment, precise treatment prescription, fostering rapid recovery, averting relapse and disease progression, and ultimately reducing the need for long-term care. In essence, they form a cornerstone in the proactive management of individual health.

Factors influencing laboratory test pricing in Nigeria

Inflationary pressures: Inflation significantly impacts the escalating costs of laboratory tests in Nigeria. The inflation rate in December 2023 surged to 28.92%, up from the preceding month’s 28.20%, as reported in the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) inflation report.

Types of Costs in Laboratories

    • Fixed Costs: Expenditures independent of workload, including rent, lab and equipment insurance, and equipment rentals.
    • Variable Costs: Fluctuate directly with testing volume, including reagent costs and disposable test equipment.
    • Semi-variable Costs: Neither entirely fixed nor variable, fluctuating with laboratory activity, including machinery repairs and supervision.

Costs of common lab tests

In Nigeria, several common laboratory tests are routinely conducted to assess and monitor various aspects of health.

Based on their prevalence, the following are some of the most common lab tests conducted in Nigeria:

Laboratory Test

Estimated Lab Costs in 2022

Estimated Lab Costs in 2024

Malaria Parasite Test



Complete Blood Count



Blood Glucose Test






HIV Rapid Test (Free in Public Hospitals)



BHCG (Pregnancy)



Stool Microscopy



Liver Function Test



Kidney Function Test



Total Cholesterol



WIDAL (Typhoid) Test




Accessibility and Affordability Challenges

The accessibility of laboratory testing facilities in Nigeria reveals significant disparities across regions. Urban cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt enjoy superior access, while rural areas, particularly in the northern regions, face additional hurdles due to infrastructure limitations, leading to uneven distribution and disparities in healthcare resources.

Nigerians encounter challenges in obtaining affordable lab tests, attributed to factors such as restricted healthcare infrastructure, soaring equipment costs, and insufficient funding. The uneven distribution of healthcare facilities exacerbates the issue, compounded by the reliance on out-of-pocket payments by individuals. Despite the 2001 Abuja declaration committing African countries to allocate 15% of their budget to the health sector, both the federal and state governments in Nigeria allocate less than 10% of the nation’s budget to healthcare.

Federal Government Initiatives

In response, the Nigerian government has implemented healthcare initiatives to enhance accessibility and affordability. Key among them are the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA, formerly NHIS) and targeted programs offering subsidized or free healthcare services to vulnerable populations. However, the NHIA’s reach remains persistently low, with less than 5% of the population enrolled and an alarming estimate of 120 million Nigerians without health insurance coverage.

To address accessibility and affordability, the Nigerian government approved the National Health Sector Investment Initiative. In collaboration with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Federal Ministry of Health, agreements have been signed to expand healthcare services through private sector participation. These agreements aim to develop the capacity of diagnostic and primary healthcare centers to provide advanced medical services at subsidized rates.

Public Perspectives on Lab Test Costs

Engaging with the public, Nairametrics sought to gain a nuanced understanding of how the Nigerian population navigates the financial landscape of common laboratory tests. Out of the five members of the public interviewed, only one had health insurance, with the remaining individuals bearing the financial burden out of pocket.

One patient emphasized the variable nature of their experience, stating, “It depends on the tests; some are affordable, but some are not.” Another described the process as straightforward, explaining, “If I go to the pharmacy or see a doctor and they recommend tests, I’m directed to a lab, and I pay there.” Those paying out of pocket disclosed the financial considerations impacting their decisions, with cost influencing their choices.

Shifting the focus to the perspectives of a licensed medical lab scientist, she underscored the crucial role of government intervention: “The government needs to exert more efforts in ensuring a broader reach of health insurance among Nigerians. Making healthcare more affordable is achievable through widespread insurance coverage. Introducing policies mandating schools to insure students and offices to insure workers could be pivotal steps forward.”