The Lagos State Government has acknowledged the commendation by the World Health Organisation on steps taken by the Nigerian government to contain the spread of Coronavirus, COVID 19, in the country.
A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said the recognition of Nigeria’s efforts by the Director-General of the United Nations Health Agency, Dr. Tedros Ghebereyesus, is a testimony that the decision of the Lagos State government to spearhead construction of the Biobanking and Biosecurity Laboratory at the Mainland Specialist Hospital, Yaba was timely and ingenious.
Dr. Ghebereyesus hailed Nigeria’s handling of the epidemic, saying, “This a true act of solidarity and an important step in stopping the Coronavirus from spreading further”.
The Commissioner reiterated that “When news of the Coronavirus broke, the State Government on February 3 set up an Incident Command Centre headed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Incident Commander and Health Commissioner, Akin Abayomi as the Deputy Incident Commander. They rallied experts to tackle the pandemic.”
He added that no fewer than 60 health officials were stationed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to check that visitors did not bring in the virus.
Omotoso recalled that Lagos State also embarked on the training of medical personnel to become experts in laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases before the facility was completed.
“The foresight of the Lagos State government prepared us for the advent of Coronavirus in Nigeria and through the Grace of God, this administration has been able to leverage the experience of trained medical personnel in curtailing the spread of the infectious disease,” Omotoso said.
The Commissioner maintained that the advocacy campaigns initiated by the State government also assisted in arousing the consciousness of residents to the symptoms, dangers and preventive measures required to avoid the risk of contracting the disease.
While emphasising the need to take prompt steps whenever anyone suspects symptoms of the disease, the Commissioner noted: “Immediately the index case of Coronavirus was discovered, government promptly convened a stakeholder-forum where experienced Doctors, including the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi and Dr. Bamidele Mutiu, Head of the Lagos State Biobank and seasoned infectious disease specialist, addressed community leaders, transport unions, teachers: and politicians among other residents”.
He, however, cautioned residents to remain vigilant, despite the accolades of the World Health Organisation on the feat achieved in Nigeria since the identification of the index case in Ogun State.
Commending the medical team that has been attending to quarantined persons since the discovery of the index case, Omotoso admired their professionalism and urged them not to rest on their oars until every patient being tested has been confirmed free of the virus.
The Commissioner reiterated that the already identified primary and secondary contacts of the index case are being actively monitored and urged members of the public to report any suspected cases of Coronavirus to the nearest health facilities or through the telephone numbers 08023169485, 08033565529, 08052817243 and 08023401214.