By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has released the sum of N200 million to support the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) response of the Federal Government-run isolation centres that are based in the State. The grant is specifically to ramp up the capacity of the federal isolation centres in Lagos to efficiently manage and cure infections from all identified COVID-19 variants.
This development was disclosed in the Governor’s latest update on the State’s COVID-19 response, which was released on Sunday evening.
The beneficiary treatment centres are the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Idi Araba, and Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Ebute Metta, which will get N150 million and N50 million respectively.
Also, the State Government announced that its isolation centre situated in the Gbagada General Hospital would now be transformed into fee-paying private wards. The move, Sanwo-Olu said, is in response to the growing requests from patients and families willing to pay for personalised care in Government-run facilities, while also protecting their privacy.
Payable fee for the private treatment, the Governor noted, will be moderately lower than charges at licenced private hospitals. Sanwo-Olu said the State-owned treatment centre at Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Yaba would continue to offer high-quality treatment to all persons, free of charge.
He said: “In view of the rising profile of the Coronavirus disease due to the mutating variants now being discovered globally, and to shore up our containment and management capacity, I have approved the sum of N200 million to support the ongoing patient management and treatment efforts in two Federal Government’s treatment centers in our State. To this end, LUTH will be receiving the sum of N150 million and the FMC Ebute Metta will be receiving N50 million. These sums will be disbursed today, February 1.
“Also, in response to the growing clamour by patients and families who are willing to pay for COVID-19 treatment but would like to do so at a cost that is lower than is currently obtainable at private facilities, Lagos State Government is making efforts to transform the State-owned isolation center in Gbagada into a fee-paying facility that people can elect to be treated at. While the treatment facility in Yaba will continue to offer free and high-quality treatment to all persons, Gbagada isolation centre will offer treatments at a moderated and affordable cost to those who wish to take advantage of extra offerings like private treatment rooms and more personalised levels of care.”
Despite that oxygen demand had spiked up from 300 cylinders to 400 cylinders per day across State-owned treatment facilities, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government would not charge patients who receive oxygen.
The Governor said Lagos was working hard to ensure oxygen supply met and surpass the demand, disclosing that the State was on the verge of delivering its second oxygen plant at the Gbagada General Hospital. The new plant will be ready in the next seven days.
Sanwo-Olu said when the COVID-19 vaccines are finally delivered to Lagos in the coming days, distribution priorities would be accorded to frontline workers, persons with co-morbidities, essential workers and the elderly who are within the age bracket of 50 to over 65 years.
He said: “The Government will keep the integrity of the vaccines intact along the entire supply and distribution chain, while also ensuring approved dosages are complied with. The State will follow up on possible post-vaccination adverse event; the monitoring strategy will be diligently followed in line with protocols of pharmaceutical public safety.”
The State Government frowned at what it called “widespread flagrant disregard and non-adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols” issued to stem the tide of infection. Sanwo-Olu particularly noted that some event centres’ owners had been operating their facilities outside the acceptable parameters for usage, warning that defaulters would be decisively dealt with.
In line with the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations of 2021 signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, Sanwo-Olu directed that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.
“A breach of the provisions of the presidential regulations attracts upon summary conviction, a fine or six months imprisonment or both. Our enforcement agencies have been appropriately tasked to ensure maximum compliance,” the Governor said.