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Sanction awaits health facility treating COVID-19 patient unauthorize- Lagos Govt.

By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Following a high number of casualties recorded from coronavirus pandemic complications from private hospitals in Lagos, the State Government has said that severe sanctions await any healthcare provider that engaged in COVID-19 patient treatment unauthorised in the state.
It added that only facilities approved by the Lagos Ministry of Health for coronavirus pandemic case management were expected to carry out the management of COVID19 cases within the state.
The Executive Secretary, State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Dr. Abiola Idowu, who gave the warning in a statement made available to our correspondent, urged members of the public to disregard a list of hospitals and health facilities making the round on social media purportedly exposed to the virus in Lagos.
Idowu said all health facilities operating in Lagos must adhere strictly to the principle on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and maintain a high degree of suspicion for any COVID-19 cases that approach their facility.
While urging healthcare providers in the state to adhere strictly to laid down protocols for COVID19 suspicion, the executive secretary added that IPC will help reduce human-to-human transmission and secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers in the state.
Idowu, who highlighted some of the critical components of the protocol, explained that each healthcare facility must have a plan and a team in place to address COVID19 issues such as triaging and assigning responsibility for notification or communication with the Lagos State COVID19 response team through the  08000CORONA (0800 026 7662) toll-free line.
In her appeal against unauthorized admission and treatment of confirmed COVID19 cases, she warned that any facilities caught violating the laid-down protocol of operations especially with regard to COVID19 case management would be sanctioned in line with the extant provision of the law.
On the purported list that had allegedly caused panic in Lagos, Idowu noted that the ministry never issued a statement advising the public not to patronize certain facilities for been exposed to COVID19 cases.
“This is the handiwork of mischief makers and fake news merchants who are bent on causing panic in the community and eroding the successes recorded in the battle against COVID-19”.
“I, therefore, urge residents to disregard the list in its entirety and rely solely on the Ministry of Health and HEFAMAA for information on the operation of health facilities and management of COVID-19 cases especially at this critical time”, she added.
Idowu explained that some health facilities might inadvertently admit or treat patients with COVID-19 without knowing. She stated that if this happens, the facility would be temporarily closed for decontamination while the staff would be trained on Infection, Prevention, and Control after which the facility is safe to carry on its normal operations.
She appealed to members of the public to desist from stigmatizing health facilities that might have been exposed to COVID-19 cases as well as patients infected with COVID-19 to prevent severe health problems.
“We need people to desist from stigmatizing such facilities, they are only closed for decontamination and once that has been done as well as other necessary protocols, the facility is safe to offer services to the public,’’ the Executive Secretary stated.
Idowu also observed that stigma can drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination, prevent people from seeking health care immediately, and discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours.

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