By Onome Amuge
- Grants N200 million to support ongoing patient management
The Lagos State government, in its efforts at curbing the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic, has considered more stringent measures in preventing the spread of the virus with a stern warning that anyone found culpable and in breach of the existing regulations and guidelines would be swiftly and decisively dealt with in full accordance with the provisions of the law.
The governor bemoaned that Lagos continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria with a registered fatality rate of 301 deaths,approximately 0.63 per cent of total recorded cases, the highest in the country.
He noted that as of January 29, the state had recorded a total of 47,871 confirmed cases of covid-19. Of this number, he disclosed that 34,094 have recovered while 9,856 are currently active.
Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that the test positivity ratio for January 2021 is 24 per cent, which means that one out of every four tests returns positive, the highest monthly average recorded in the last six months.
As a result of the rising profile of the disease worsened by mutating variants now being discovered globally; and to shore up containment and management capacity, the governor granted approval of the sum of N200 million to support the ongoing patient management and treatment efforts of two federal government treatment centers in the state. He also assured that the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, will receive the sum of N150 million while the Federal Medical Center, Ebute Metta, will receive N50 million, which will be disbursed on Monday, February 1.
Sanwo-Olu stressed that all persons who fall within the case definition, people with covid-19 related symptoms such as fever,cold,cough, loss of smell/taste,headaches, general body weakness, or have come into close contact with anyone with any of these symptoms, will be granted free access to covid-19 testing in all Lagos State health facilities. He further stated that anyone wishing to test as a requirement for either outbound or inbound travel or other official requirements must do so at any of the 21 accredited private laboratories in the state.
In keeping with governments responsibility, he said while the covid-19 treatment facility in Yaba will continue to offer free and high-quality treatment to all persons, the government has provided a facility centre in Gbagada that will offer treatments at a moderated and affordable cost to those who wish to take advantage of extra offerings like private treatment rooms and more personalised levels of care.
Speaking on home based care, the governor said the government established EKOTELEMED, a telemedicine service for patients who are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms that do not require admission, and can therefore be managed in the comfort of their homes.
He maintained that the EKOTELEMED service is manned by well-trained personnel, urging people whose cases fall in the asymptomatic or mild category of the virus to take advantage of the service by dialing 08000356633,a toll-free line.
Sanwo-Olu also reiterated that oxygen usage is free at all Lagos State-owned covid-19 treatment centres and the government is making efforts at ensuring its availability and supply considering a spike in demand in the state-owned treatment facilities.
He also stated that the state government is making constant engagements and collaborative efforts with all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors aimed at finalising its own vaccine strategy; while at the same time keeping a close eye on ongoing vaccine research, development and clinical trials. I
Sanwo-Olu expressed awareness that the federal government is expecting its first batch of vaccines (Pfizer) from the Covax Facility in February, noting that Lagos State’s status as the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria will be duly considered in the distribution plan.
He also assured that as the vaccines become available in the state, they will be prioritised to the people who need them the most, especially frontline health workers, people with comorbidities , the elderly and essential workers.
Reacting to numerous international claims that the broad spectrum antiparasitic agent/medication Ivermectin has shown some efficacy in acting as a sustained prophylaxis in containing/inhibiting the causative virus in SARS-CoV-2, the governor said the state government has taken the bold step of ensuring there is adequate stocks of Ivermectin, which will be initially deployed in a short clinical trial to ascertain its efficiency in preventing and treating covid-19 infection.
He also acknowledged the responsibility of the state government to ensure that: Lagosians are protected from price-gouging and other forms of exploitations;the integrity of the vaccines is kept intact along the entire supply and distribution chain, approved dosages are complied with;a post vaccination adverse event monitoring strategy is followed diligently and according to normal protocols of pharmaceutical public safety.
Sanwo-Olu also warned against the gathering of more than 50 persons in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.
He stated that failure to comply with the guidelines as well as a breach of the covid-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed by Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s president, will attract summary conviction which includes a fine or six months imprisonment or both.
He enjoined all residents of the state to continually abide by the public health and safety regulations that have been issued by the health authorities, which include:
- Wearing a mask everywhere.
- Ensuring that the reusable mask is washed regularly, and also properly disposed when no longer in use.
3.Office or business operators should insist on the wearing of masks before customers or clients can be granted access or rendered service.
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
- Avoid mass gatherings or adhere to published guidelines for congregations.
- Practicing regular hand and respiratory hygiene.
- Symptoms that correspond to the outlined symptoms of covid-19 should be immediately tested as testing is free for symptomatic patients in Lagos State, through the network of public testing facilities.
- Any positive patient should self-isolate or report cases to any Isolation Centre and follow-up clinics.