It’s illegal to manage COVID-19 patient without permission ― Lagos govt

The Lagos state government has classified as illegal the management of COVID-19 patients by private facilities in the state without permission from the state.

The State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi disclosed this at a press briefing on COVID-19 held on Friday at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Abayomi stressed that every COVID-19 patient in the state must be known to the government person for adequate data capturing.

He warned that “Every person with COVID-19 in Lagos state must be known to the government. If you are managing COVID-19 without government permission and we are not capturing you in our database, you are performing an illegal act according to the laws of Lagos State.

So if you want to manage COVID-19 in Lagos state, we are not saying you cannot. All you need to do is to submit an application and we will visit your hospital to ensure that you have the required equipment and specialised personnel to manage COVID-19. If you can demonstrate that you can do all these then we will give you the approval to manage the disease.

Also, information about every patient managed by the hospitals must be made available to us so that we can record it in our database.

COVID-19 remains a public crisis and all public crises are managed and supervised by the Lagos state government and by extension the federal government of Nigeria.”

Commenting on the COVID-19 testing capacity of the state, the commissioner said Lagos has been ramping up testing dramatically noting that “If you look at our data, we have performed over 22, 000 tests in Lagos so far. We are increasing our capacity to carry out more tests every day.

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We are now at a capacity to perform 1000 test per day and we are looking at raising our capacity to 2000 or 3000 per day so that we can test anybody and everybody that needs testing or wishes to be tested.

Very soon the rate at which we are testing will keep rising and don’t be alarmed because the more we test, the more cases we’ll found. When we see low COVID-19 numbers across Nigeria, it is because they are not testing as they should. But in Lagos state, we record a high number because we are testing a lot.

However, as cases are increasing there are chances that the number of severe cases will be on the increase hence an increase in oxygen requirement.

The governor has correctly announced that Lagos state is considering generating its own oxygen. We normally send our tanks to be filled up but if we have our own tanks then we can generate our own oxygen. We will have abundant oxygen.

As the numbers of patients are increasing, the demand for oxygen keeps increasing and there are more likely to see people who are in the more severe category of COVID-19. Generally speaking, what they need is an adequate supply of oxygen.

We are planning ahead so that we won’t find ourselves in a situation where we will have no access to oxygen. By planning ahead, we are going to establish an oxygen generating plant in some of our major hospitals so that we will have an abundant supply of oxygen for our patients.”

On private sector partnership with the government in the management of COVID-19 pandemic, he said, “We are doing this in two ways. First, we are engaging with private laboratories that want to partner with the government to carry out the test for COVID-19. We have identified several private laboratories that have the capacity to perform a COVID-19 test.

You know COVID-19 test is very complicated and it is not all laboratories that can do it. It requires very sophisticated equipment and personnel that have specialised training therefore it is not all laboratories that can do COVID-19 PCR test.

It is only a handful of laboratories that have the equipment and required medical personnel that can perform the test accurately. As a result of that, the few laboratories that have volunteered to contribute to COVID-19 testing are going through screening to see if they perform the test they are going to come up with accurate results.

When they have successfully gone through this process then we will give them validation and accreditation and then they can start testing on behalf of the government as private sector partners in COVID-19.

Similarly, for managing patients, we have accredited three private hospitals. One is already admitting patients and the other two will be admitting patients any moment from now.

They have passed the biosecurity compliance test. They have made modifications to their hospitals so that their staff and other patients are not put in danger or exposed to a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Those private hospitals have passed the test and we are just in the process of issuing them with accreditation certificate so that they can start managing COVID-19 patients in the private sector.
However, even if you are managing COVID-19 in the private sector, it still comes under the supervision of the Lagos state government ministry of health.”

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