By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
As countries and cities panic over outbreak of Coronavirus, Lagos State Government has boosted that the facilities and medical personnel at its disposal are sufficient to effectively manage any virus outbreak in the state.
The State Government added that experiences gathered during Ebola outbreak four years ago aided its preparation for any outbreak of virus in the state.
Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi, gave the assurance while conducting Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Enahire, round facilities at Mainland Hospital which is the Lagos State Infectious Disease Hospital on Sunday, efforts already in place puts Lagos in pole position to manage any virus outbreak.
Abayomi explained that the State Government has been working very hard to prevent an import of Corona Virus into the State and ramping up its preparedness for containment should there be an outbreak.
“Since the experience we had with Ebola four years ago, we have been building capacity, infrastructure, revising our policies and laws, training staff that are specially equipped to deal with outbreak of infectious diseases like Ebola, Monkeypox, Lassa Fever and Coronavirus if it comes here. So we are ready in Lagos, we have the facility, trained staff, and robust surveillance system in place to contain and effectively manage an outbreak”.
He noted that the State government would be supporting Federal Government with staff at airports to ensure anybody coming into Lagos goes through a thorough screening process adding that officials of the State Ministry of Health will be following up persons who recently returned from countries that has person-to-person transmission of coronavirus for 14 days in their home.
“So we are making it very tight and we hope that with the policies and measures put in place, we will not see a serious situation happening in Lagos but should that happen, our containment facilities at the Mainland hospital which is being rapidly upscaled will be able to effectively manage and contain it”, the Commissioner stated.
Abayomi noted that novel Coronavirus is not a case of a racial illness. He stressed that the disease can affect anybody.
“It is neither a Chinese disease nor an African disease, it is a disease and it can happen to anybody, so we are appealing to Lagosians, please do not spread false rumours, it is dangerous, causes harm and it is a waste of resources. But we are ready, if these episodes get to the media we will respond and if we are able to track down perpetrators of these fake news then the law will take its course”, he said.
Apparently, after listening to the commissioner, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Enahire, commended the Government for its cutting edge preparedness against an outbreak of infectious diseases especially the Novel Coronavirus which is fast spreading across the world.
Osagie expressed satisfaction at the level of infrastructure put in place by the State Government to effectively contain any infectious disease should there be a case.
He averred that the state government considering its vulnerability to infectious disease has learnt lessons from the Ebola episode of 2014 and reflected the experience in their level of preparedness.
“It is quite clear that Lagos has a clear-cut edge in managing infectious diseases and preparedness. I am extremely happy that Lagos is equipped in the area of knowledge built from the foundation it obtained from the 2014 Ebola outbreak which the state-managed properly. The Minister said”
Osagie who also inspected Lagos State Bio-bank; the highest Bio-safety level 3 laboratory in West Africa located inside the Mainland Hospital, Yaba commended the State government for deploying additional 30 health personnel to assist with surveillance at the entry ports.
“I am highly impressed, happy and proud to see this level of preparedness. I have not just learnt something; I am impressed that the state has taken science to a very modern and admirable level. This is obviously a place a lot of lessons will be learnt. He said”.
Osagie stressed further that the Federal Government and the state government has a lot of grounds for collaboration as the federal government will be requesting support team from the State government to assist in certain areas where experiences gathered over the years can be shared.
“I am confident that Lagos is ready, they have the highest volume of air travels, so the preparedness here is more important than anywhere else”, the Minister added.