Lagos Expands COVID-19 Response Capacity
The Lagos State government has expanded its COVID-19 response capacity with the accreditation of seven private laboratories to boost its testing capacity and three private hospitals for case management. Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this on Friday at a press briefing to give an update on ‘COVID-19Lagos Response, noted that the State remains committed to bringing the outbreak under control, making economic activities continue as best as possible and improving strategies to keep the citizens safe in the face of threats posed by the pandemic. Abayomi explained that the State government commenced the accreditation and validation of private health facilities to assist in the fight against the virus because of the need to improve COVID-19 response strategy, testing capacity and management of cases, especially in the light of the evolving phase of the outbreak. According to him, the names of the accredited laboratories are Total Medical Services, Synlab, 54gene, Mebbury Medical Services, Biologix Medical Services, 02 Medical Services and Clina Lancent Laboratory. “We want to increase our testing capacity even more and one of the tenets of managing this outbreak is to test as many people as possible so that we can employ the principle of isolation. Right now, we are testing between 500 and 800 persons a day and in the next few weeks, we will have established a consortium of laboratories to carry out the test", Abayomi said. “These laboratories have all passed our validation, they have been accredited and we will be adding them to our testing consortium, in addition to our already established public laboratories headed by the Lagos State Bio-bank. We are just going through the logistics of having them in the consortium of laboratories and by next week, these laboratories are going to be testing on behalf of the government to provide an expanded testing strategy, so that we can get a clearer understanding of the outbreak in Lagos”, the Commissioner added. Giving assurance of the ability of the selected establishments to test individuals, he maintained that, "We are convinced that they can test using the molecular biology test which we call the PCR test and they have all passed 100 percent. As we proceed with the expanded testing strategy, we will be testing between 1000 and 2000 a day when these private laboratories come on stream, which will be anytime from next week”. Prof. Abayomi also noted that the State government has accredited three private hospitals for management of cases as part of the drive to explore public-private partnership in COVID-19 response, stressing that more private health facilities are indicating interest to partner with the government in the fight against the pandemic. “At the moment it is illegal to manage COVID-19 cases outside of an accredited facility. As a public, we implore you not to go for test or treatment in a private facility that has not been accredited by the government. It is dangerous to do that; if you do, you might put yourself and your family members in danger and you might certainly put the staff of that facility in danger if they are not practising according to government laid down standards”, he cautioned. The Commissioner listed the accredited hospitals to include First Cardiology Hospital, Paelone Memorial Hospital and Verdic Hospital. Earlier in his COVID-19 situation analysis presentation, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that 9,497 cases have been confirmed COVID-19 positive in Lagos State out of which 5,064 have recovered. “Of the above number of confirmed cases, 1,470 were admitted and discharged from the State’s COVID care centres, 447 patients are currently admitted in our various COVID care centres, majority of the balance 2,381 have not been picked up due to wrong information. Seven patients were either evacuated or transferred out of our COVID care centres while 128 patients representing 1.3 percent who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Lagos State have died”, he said He noted that even though 42 per cent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria have been in Lagos State, the State accounts for only 23.6 percent of the recorded deaths from COVID-19 in Nigeria, pointing out that this suggests competence in the management of confirmed cases in Lagos. Ogboye stated that Lagos, in the next few weeks, will transit to home-based care option for people who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic so as to cope with the number of positive cases. “To cope with the number of positive cases, we have incorporated what we call the home-based care or the decentralisation of isolation centres. In the community, we will be looking for homes where people will be adequately isolated in their environment which does not pose danger to other members of the community”, he said.