The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Enahire has commended the Lagos State Government for its cutting edge preparedness against the outbreak of infectious diseases in the state especially the Novel Coronavirus which is fast spreading across the world.
Dr. Osagie who gave the commendation during his tour of facilities at Mainland Hospital which is the Lagos State Infectious Disease Hospital 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”.
Dr.Osagie stressed further that the federal Government and the state government has a lot 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 said.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health 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.
Said he, “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, Monkey pox, 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”.
Abayomi noted that the State government is supporting the Federal Government with staff at the airport just to make sure that anybody coming in to 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 up scaled will be able to effectively manage and contain it”, the Commissioner stated.
While responding to news making the round about a suspected case of coronavirus in Alimosho local government area, Abayomi dismissed the news as fake noting that Lagos has no suspected or confirmed case of corona virus.
“We heard the same rumour and we deployed our biosecurity team there yesterday. They have gathered a lot of medical and community intelligence and so far and it appears to us that there is no such thing and that this was fake news”.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to Lagosians and Nigerians that when you spread false rumours, it is actually very damaging. Though, it is testing our capacity to respond but is also very expensive and can cause panic in the community apart from the stigmatization it causes”, the Commissioner explained.
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.
Director, Public Affairs
9th February, 2020