Lagos govt. seeks active collaboration of health workers to defeat COVID-19

(NAN) Lagos State Health Commissioner, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has stressed the need for health workers to collaborate, protect themselves, instill confidence among the populace and ensure that health facilities did not stop operations.

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Abayomi said this during a Health Summit organised by the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) on Thursday in Lagos.

The summit was with the theme: ‘’Repositioning Healthcare Delivery in Lagos State: A Synergy Between Government and Private Sector.”

Abayomi noted that 70 per cent of healthcare delivery in Lagos was by private medical practitioners, saying that collaboration of the private and public medical personnel was needed to defeat COVID-19 just like Ebola Virus.

According to him, with the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), health workers were frontline combatants.

“WHO has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, that means there is an outbreak raging the entire earth, affecting all communities, disrupting lives and threatening our livelihoods, with the world almost on the verge of global economic collapse.

“As combatants in this outbreak, which is like a war, it is important for health workers to protect themselves, instill confidence and ensure that our facilities do not shut down.

“We know that if there is chaos in a community, and you see the policemen running away, then you know there is a problem.

“If in this situation, doctors and nurses are running away, there will be fear, that’s not a situation we want to see,” he said.

According to him, this is the period for health workers to recall that they swore to save and protect lives.

The commissioner said the chances were high that Nigeria might receive another index case of COVID-19, stressing that government was intensifying its surveillance efforts at all points of entry.

According to him, recent data from Lagos Bureau of Statistics shows that slum communities in Lagos has increased from 68 to 650 slums, with about 3,000 people relocating to the state from different parts of the country daily.

He noted that the situation presented a challenge to the government, adding that congestion would drive rapid transmission of an outbreak if allowed at the community level.

Abayomi stressed that government’s strategy was to cast a tight net on any case that came into the country, saying that AGPMPN played  an important role in assisting government in its containment efforts.

According to him, the association is represented at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to keep them abreast with strategies and brainstorm on moves to take in containing the virus.

He urged health workers to get equipped, exercise high level of suspicion with patients and ensure proper history was taken from patients.

The commissioner said that government was working on reviewing the Access to Finance plan to enable private facilities access low interest loans, stressing that government appreciated  the vital role played by health workers in the society.

Also, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Wife of Lagos State Governor, said the outbreak of COVID-19 and Lassa fever had made it pertinent for private medical practitioners to collaborate with government.

Sanwo-Olu represented by Dr Folasade Fadare, Medical Director, Ibeju-Lekki General Hospital, said the partnership would reduce diseases burden and boost the state’s health indices.

Commenting, Prof. Akin Osibogun, Public Health and Epidemiology Specialist, stressed the need for inter-sectoral collaboration and health in all policies approach to enhance health status.

Osibogun called for urgent attention on implementation of National Health Act, and enactment of the National Hospitals Commission.

He stressed the need for  cost effective approach with emphasis on prevention through routine immunisations, health education, promotion of healthy lifestyle and health impact of other policies and actions.

The AGPMPN Chairman, Dr Tunji Akintade, said that stakeholders convened the summit out of a strong desire to enhance healthcare delivery in the country.

Akintade said that with the collaboration of the private and public medical personnel, COVID-19 just like Ebola Virus could be defeated in the country. (NAN)

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