SANWO-OLU RAISES ALARM OVER NEW WAVE OF COVID-19 INFECTION, REACTIVATES RESTRICTIONS
…Isolation Centres Filling Up Again, Says Governor
…In-Bound Travellers Defaulting Isolation Protocols Risk Prosecution, Imprisonment
Lagos State Government has raised the alarm of a possible third wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, following a sharp increase in the number of positive cases recorded in the last few weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, imposed restrictions and sanctions after disclosing that the State’s daily cases of COVID-19 confirmation had shot up to 6.6 per cent over a period of one week.
The development may not be unconnected to the careless attitude of air passengers from countries in the “high risk” zones and the complacency by the residents to follow the protective protocols issued by the Government after the end of the second wave.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that 18 percent of 50,322 air passengers of interest, who arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), could not be reached for COVID-19 status monitoring by EKOTELEMED because they supplied wrong contact details.
Going forward, the Governor ordered sanctioning of in-bound air passengers that failed to provide verifiable contact details, including accessible phone numbers they can be reached for monitoring.
Sanwo-Olu said air passengers would face prosecution, including fines and imprisonment in line with the Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021.
The Governor said: “In spite of our hard work and dedicated efforts towards sustaining the return to normalcy, over the last three months, after the flattened the curve of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, we are now finding ourselves at what appears to be the start of a potential third wave of the pandemic in Lagos State.
From the beginning of July, we started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases.
“The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern. Also, within the last two weeks, the occupancy rate at our isolation centres increased to an average of six per cent. This is the disturbing reality that now confronts us.
As directed by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation.
“We have successfully isolated 2,386 passengers in Lagos. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded. Sanctions are being recommended and have already been meted out to defaulters.
Revocation of Permanent Residency and deportation are being meted out to foreign nationals defaulting the protocols. For Nigerians, there will be prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law of 2021.”
The situation at hand, Sanwo-Olu said, required reactivation of full compliance with all protective protocols already outlined by the State Government.
The Governor said there should be compulsory use of masks in all public places, while also directing social distancing, compulsory temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitizers, and maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in enclosed spaces.
Sanwo-Olu urged worship centres to be particularly vigilant, advising them not to be carried away by the illusion that all activities were back to normal.
He said: “It is understandable that many are tired and want their old, pre-pandemic lives to return. Unfortunately, we do not have a choice in this regard, and fatigue is not an option.
We cannot afford to be tired, frustrated or distracted. Without the cooperation of the public at large, we stand the risks of losing both lives and livelihood, on a devastating scale.
“The enemy (COVID-19) is formidable and opportunistic. The pandemic will only go as far as we allow it. Having triumphed over the first and second waves, we must now find within ourselves new reserves of energy to quell this emerging third wave before it snowballs out of control.”
The Governor decried the low vaccination rate in the State, pointing out that only a fraction of the populace received the recommended doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being rolled out to achieve herd immunity.
This, he said, is not adequate, adding that the State Government was exploring all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccine to reach the immunity target of 60 per cent coverage.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos would continue to work with all partners across the Government and private institutions to ensure permanent isolation of the virus.
SOFPON provides free surgical intervention for Lagos residents
The Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) has conducted free surgical intervention for 60 residents of Lagos State to reduce morbidity and risk of death from common medical conditions.
Dr Sixtus Ozuomba, Chairman, SOFPON, Lagos chapter, said this during the association’s surgical outreach in celebration of the World Family Doctors Day on Saturday in Lagos.
The day celebrated annually on May 19 has as its theme: ‘Family Doctors: The Heart of Primary Care’, emphasising the critical role of family doctors in delivering compassionate and patient-centred care to their patients.
Ozuomba noted that basic surgical procedures were among the most cost-effective health interventions that could prevent avoidable deaths, boost welfare and economic productivity.
He, however, said that poverty and affordability of surgical care was a huge challenge for many Nigerians, irrespective of the part of the country where they resided.
According to him, to bridge the gap of accessibility to surgical procedures, SOFPON organised free surgical intervention for lipoma, breast lump, ingrown toenail, ganglion, hernia and other day cases surgery.
He said that 60 people would benefit from the intervention which was held at Onikan General Hospital and General Hospital, Odan, Lagos.
Ozuomba said the surgeries funded from the dues and levies of SOFPON members was to complement the Lagos State Government’s efforts in ensuring qualitative healthcare for its citizens.
Speaking on the theme of the 2023 celebration, Ozuomba said that family physicians were reputed for providing comprehensive, continuous and coordinated healthcare to individuals, families and communities.
Ozuomba said that family doctors also advocated on behalf of their patients as it regarded government’s policies and actions.
“We have a lot of competent areas, what people have been saying is the medical aspects, we are not limited by disease entity, age or sex of the patients.
“Surgery is also an aspect of the competent areas of a family physician. We decided to showcase that this year and let people benefit from it.
“Some people that have been finding it difficult to get into the healthcare system are seizing the opportunity to come in,” he said.
He noted that brain drain was affecting all specialties of the health sector, especially the family doctors whom he said were in high demand due to their competence that cuts across specialties.
Similarly, Dr Oghide Oziegbe, Secretary of SOFPON, said the free surgical intervention would relieve many beneficiaries from pain and discomfort which they have had for years but could not treat due to paucity of funds.
Oziegbe noted that the beneficiaries had undergone free laboratory tests and assessments to assess their fitness for the surgery.
He noted that 40 per cent of the patients were booked for hernia surgery, while breast lumps took the other number followed by procedures for ganglion, lipoma and ingrown toenail.
Also, Dr Madewa Adebajo, Medical Director, Onikan General Hospital, said the surgical intervention had assisted to eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for beneficiaries, advising residents to register for the Ilera Eko health insurance plan to ensure access to healthcare services.
He also appealed to healthcare personnel to shun braindrain, saying that the state had improved its infrastructure and curriculum to encourage career progression.
Earlier, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said the state was committed to ensuring the provision of quality and affordable healthcare services to residents, irrespective of their socio-economic status.
Abayomi said that Ilera Eko which connoted the wellbeing and health of all residents of Lagos state was created to achieve universal health coverage for Lagos residents.
He called on all residents to prioritise their health and buy into the Lagos State Health Scheme, while commending SOFPON for its efforts in supporting government to bridge access to quality medical care for citizens. (NAN)
Resident doctors suspend 5 days warning strike, resume work today
National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, yesterday, suspended its 5-day nationwide warning strike.
National President of the association, Dr. Emeka Orji, told Vanguard that work resumes by today 8a.m., all federal and state Teaching Hospitals as well as other hospitals where resident doctors are trained.
He said: “Strike has been suspended and work resumes at 8a.m., tomorrow (today). Progress made will be reviewed on June 2. 2023, during our general meeting where the next line of action will be decided.”
NMA raises alarm over 5-month doctors’ salaries arrears in Abia, Imo, Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra
Doctors strike as national embarrassment
Recall that the doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, began a five-day warning strike in public health facilities across the federation on Wednesday last week.
Some of the demands of the doctors include; immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and abolishment of the bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of doctors and nurses who leave the system, immediate infrastructural development in public hospitals with a subsequent allocation of at least 15 percent of the budgetary provisions to health in line with the Abuja declaration of 2001 and immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, to the tune of 200 per cent of the gross salary of doctors among others.
Industrial Action: Resident Doctors Give FG Two-Week Ultimatum On Pending Agreements
The national leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to commence the implementation of all pending agreements.
The ultimatum was handed down in a communiqué at the end of a three-day extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The resident doctors also demanded a 15 percent annual budgetary allocation for the health sector from the current 5.7 percent, to address the current infrastructure decay, the recruitment of clinical staff to bridge the gap created by the current brain in the sector among other demands.
“NEC resolved to issue the Government a two-week ultimatum beginning today, 29th April 2023, to resolve all these demands, following the expiration of which on the 13th May 2023, we may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the sector nationwide,” the communiqué said.
Among its demands are an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) salary structure to the tune of 200 percent of the current gross salary of doctors.
According to the doctors, the demanded revision of salary structure is in addition to the new allowances included in the letter written by NARD to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on July 7, 2022 for the review of CONMESS.
The NARD leadership further demanded the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning of the “ill-conceived” bill by the House of Representatives member representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II in Lagos State, Ganiyu Johnson, on the alleged enslavement of young doctors in Nigeria.
It also sought the immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) in line with the agreements reached at the stakeholders’ meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Health.
“This should be done without further delay,” the communiqué added.
It also demanded the commencement of payment of all salary arrears owed to NARD members, including 2014, 2015, and 2016 salary arrears, as well as areas of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.
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