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Use of RDT kits for COVID-19 test is illegal in Lagos – Commissioner

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has reiterated that the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits for COVID-19 testing in Lagos remains illegal until the State can validate that the kits actually work.

Abayomi stated this at a news briefing on COVID-19Lagos Response, explaining that RDT kits have a very high risk of giving false positive or negative results which could be traumatising for citizens.

“In the event that a false-positive result is given, a potentially negative person will be subjected to trauma, isolation and treatment like a positive patient. And in the event that a false negative is given, a potentially positive person is allowed to continue to roam freely in the community regardless of his positive status and as a result, the use of RDT kits is illegal until Lagos State can validate RDT kits that actually work”, he insisted.

The Commissioner explained that the State Government had considered the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kits as part of the strategies to expand its testing capacity but noted, however, that none of the RDT kits submitted for validation passed the required test.

“In order to expand our testing capacity, we considered the use of RDT Kits and to facilitate the quick validation of the RDT Kits and reduce the barrier of entry for proposed manufacturers and suppliers of RDT Kits, Mr. Governor paid the validation fees for the RDT kits. However, upon review of several RDT kits that were submitted for validation, we can report that none of the RDT kits passed the validation exercise”, Abayomi disclosed.

While noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not declared any RDT kit useful for public use, Abayomi stated that it is also illegal for private health facilities to test or manage COVID-19 cases without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities.

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“It has come to our attention that several laboratories and health facilities are testing and managing COVID patients without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities. Two laboratories were sealed as a result of this. We will continue to closely monitor all facilities that partake in these illegal activities and endanger the lives of all residents of Lagos State and instigate punitive measures to ensure they desist from such activities”, the Commissioner said.

Disclosing that only seven private laboratories were already accredited by the State government, he maintained that the second phase of accreditation and validation of laboratories will be conducted when the demand arises.

Abayomi added that the State Government has also only accredited three private facilities and is currently in the process of accrediting more, including general practitioners and small clinics, that are interested in partaking in the soon to be launched community-based and home-based care program.

“It is important to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency and the Lagos State Government has adopted a central planning approach to managing its response”, he stated.

Assuring that plans are in top gear by the State government to scale up sample collection at the 20 LGAs to include the 37 LCDAs in order to improve the efficiency of sample collection in the community, Prof. Abayomi disclosed that residents will have access to free oxygen therapy at some of the centres, if required, while arrangements will be made to transfer such a person to a COVID-19 Centre.

Abayomi hinted that the State government will in the next couple days transition to the next phase of the COVID-19 response, which he referred to as the community-based care.

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“Under the community-based care arrangement, we provide the opportunity for mild-to-moderate cases being managed and isolated at home in situations where this is allowed. However, our critical-to-severe cases will be continually managed in our COVID-19 isolation centres, where they will have the opportunity of the best treatment available”, the Commissioner assured.

Stating that a date for the commencement of home-based care will be formally announced soon, Abayomi observed that vulnerable, elderly and severe-to-critically ill patients will be managed at the isolation centres to ensure that they receive the best possible care available.

Giving epidemiology statistics on COVID-19 cases in Lagos State, the Commissioner said that over 56,276 COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far while the total number of positive cases stands at 13,543, pointing out that of the 2,476 COVID-19 patients admitted so far, 2,075 have been discharged to reunite with society after recovery.

Abayomi added that no fewer than 9,066 confirmed COVID-19 cases monitored in the communities by the COVID-19Lagos response teams have either recovered or are positively responding to treatments, noting that 192 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in Lagos.

He disclosed that Eti-Osa Local Government has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases with Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Kosofe, Ikeja and Oshodi accounting for 60% of the total COVID-19 cases in Lagos State.

Commenting on the COVID-19 Lagos community engagement, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, emphasised the need for citizens to wear face masks correctly, especially in public places to curtail the spread of the virus.

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Omotoso reaffirmed the State government’s commitment to securing the lives of citizens, disclosing that necessary precautions and guidelines stipulated by professionals will be taken before schools and religious centres reopen while the government will not take any risks with public health issues.

“Some of the reports we are getting that people do not want to wear face masks are not too good. What we are dealing with is a very dangerous enemy that has no remedy anywhere in the world. Humanity is just trying to curtail this terrible situation”, Omotoso said.

He maintained that the proper use of face marks will reduce the possibility of an infection and urged citizens to take responsibility for proper use of face masks, saying they do not need to wait for enforcement before adhering to directives on the use of face masks.

“I assure you that schools and religious institutions will be opened as soon as the go-ahead is given. We have to wait for the professionals so that we do not put ourselves in trouble. The State remains committed to securing lives and property of Lagosiapractitioners

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Health

COVID-19: Lagos health commissioner, Abayomi tests positive

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Health,  Prof. Akin Abayomi, has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Gbenga Omotoso, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, disclosed this in  a statement issued on Monday.

The statement also added that Abayomi had close contact with persons feeling unwell who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Subsequent to close contact with persons feeling unwell and testing positive for the COVID-19 infection, the Honorable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has tested positive for the virus.

“Professor Abayomi became aware of his status following the required testing protocol of contact tracing procedures,” the statement partly read.

The commissioner who had no symptoms of the virus, is adhering to the protocol of home-based strategy in the state.

While embarking on self-isolation for the next 14 days, he will still continue to discharge his duties both as the Deputy Incident Commander of the Incident Command System for COVID-19 and as the Commissioner for Health.

Meanwhile, members of the State Executive Council wish him a speedy recovery during the period.

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Health

COVID-19: Imo govt. launches innovative mobile health insurance with support from WHO

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The Governor of Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma last Wednesday launched the innovative Mobile Health Insurance Programme in Owerri.

This mobile health insurance initiative has been designed with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) to achieve seamless coverage of the over 96% population in the informal sector of the State on health insurance while reducing the existing out-of-pocket expenditure of 92%. The mobile platforms in addition, provide automated opportunities for philanthropists to graciously adopt the poor and vulnerable on health insurance.

In his remarks, the  Governor appreciated the leadership role of WHO in the health sector of the state and globally especially in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. He added that the state government depends strongly on the genuine and constructive partnership of the World Health Organization towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Governor Uzodinma added that WHO supported the state, with the design and flag-off of the Health Insurance Scheme, which now culminates in the launch of the use of mobile phone technology to pay for and access Health Insurance, the first of its kind in Africa towards   ensuring that people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.

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He restated his commitment to repositioning the entire Health Sector in the State, while requesting WHOs renewed partnership in “PHC revitalization, full implementation of the State Health Insurance scheme to provide access to essential Healthcare to Imo citizens at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care, revamping of our Health Security, Emergency preparedness and response, and overhaul of the drug revolving scheme to eliminate the issue of fake or substandard drugs in our hospitals.”

Speaking at the event, the WHO Nigeria Representative,  Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo appreciated the government of Imo State for placing the health of her people high on overall agenda of government. While recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the vulnerabilities of the global health systems, he pledged WHO’s continuous support within the 13 General Program of work and the State Health Strategic Development Plan.

Dr Mulmbo said that WHO recognizes the peculiar needs of each population from others and thus, makes deliberate efforts to fashion out the health system that works for them based on their needs.

He appreciated the level of political commitment to health in the State and expressed confidence that if sustained, the State and WHO will together promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.

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WHO already supported the State with core health financing analytics with development and printing of the State Health Financing Policy and Strategy, operational guidelines of the State Health Insurance Scheme key operational documents for the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, as well as laptop computers, some of which were presented during the event.

The high point of the event was the conferment of the title of “Oche Ndu 1 (protector and preserver of life) of Imo State” on Dr. Kazadi on behalf of WHO, by the Chairman of Imo State Traditional Rulers, in recognition of all the lives that have been saved through the humanitarian work done by WHO in the State.

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Health

Oyo govt, HACEY Health Initiative set to end female genital mutilation

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Oyo State Government in conjunction with HACEY Health Initiative on Thursday launched a campaign train tagged ” Stop Cut Project ” a project targeted at achieving zero record of female genital mutilation in the state within the next three years.

Oyo State Commissioner for health, Dr. Bashir Bello, while delivering his address at a stakeholders’ roundtable organized by HACEY Health initiative in respect of the Stop Cut Project, held at the Ministry of Health, Secretariat, Ibadan, said it was high time for the public to put aside cultural believes on female organ mutilation considering its effects on victims.

Dr. Bello, maintained that the society needed to be familiar with the consequences of the practice, hence, the government would intensify efforts in educating the populace on hazards attributed to the act.

He attributed the existence of this harmful practice in the society to inability of victims to report the perpetrators to the appropriate quarters for necessary actions, saying that the habit did not enable the perpetrators to pay the price for their actions.

He assured the convener of the project, HACEY health initiative of government support towards realization of set goals.

In his remarks, the Project Director, HACEY Health Initiative , Isiaiah Owolabi, said HACEY was determined to create a network of active people willing to end female genital mutilation in this era.

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Owalabi noted that key stakeholders would be engaged continually and build alliance for the purpose of eradicating the practices especially in core rural areas of the state.

“Our motive is to increase public awareness on female genital mutilation by dishing out risks associated to the practice to the public.

” The period of our intervention is three years, we are doing this in three states, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo. We believe at the end of this arrangement; we will achieve zero record of female genital mutilation in the state.

“We are relying on ministry of health and other relevant ministries and agencies in achieving this.

Similarly, the Oyo State Female Genital Multination Coordinator, Mrs. Baliqis Olawoyin, described the FGM as harmful practice, saying that the havocs emanated from it are usually irreversible.

Mrs. Oluwakemi also noted that the practice is regarded as violation of girls and women rights.
she thereafter called on parents to desist from encouraging or mandating their children to engage in mutilation of female organ for the act to become a thing of the past in Oyo state.

Also speaking, Oyo State Coordinator, National Orientation Agency, Mrs. Dolapo Dosumu, represented by Mr. Moshood Olaleye, said that there is need for government and Non-governmental organisations to sustain the campaign and ensure that they end Female genital Mutilation in Oyo State.

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“I urged all other relevant stakeholders to be actively involved in campaign and effective synergy and networking established for impact”

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