We Are In The Stage Of Community Spread, Abayomi Says As He Warns Against Stigmatization


The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, has said that the state has reached a stage of community spread in its fight against the COVID-19 and it is making every effort to manage the situation.

He said this during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Saturday, while also urging residents and health practitioners not to stigmatize people.

“We are in the stage of community spread and we are trying to manage it. We are doing everything possible to ensure that Lagosians are informed, Lagosians are able to take the appropriate amount of risk based on their circumstances and that we are taking the right kind of support for the people,” Abayomi said.

Regarding the issue of some persons flouting the lockdown order and its overall effects on the fight against the pandemic, the commissioner said: “I think every segment of Lagos requires a slightly different strategy. It can’t be on cap fits all.

“Someone in Victoria Island doesn’t have the same priorities as someone in Makoko and there is a whole range in between. I think what Mr Governor is doing is that he is trying to size up all the respective situations.

“He gets a situation analysis every day, he debates with cabinet, data is very critical, we supply data on a daily basis and with that data, it helps you to change your policies and the policies are changing every 24 hours based on what we are finding and based on hot spots,”.

Read Also: Lagos State Records Another Death From COVID-19

As of today, the number of cases in Nigeria now stands at 1,095 with Lagos as the epicentre as it accounts for more than half of that figure.

Abayomi, however, believes that the state has been proactive in handling the cases.

“Nigeria’s figures are way better than any other figures we’ve seen around the world, for one, because at least in the epicentre in Lagos, we’ve been proactive,” he said.

The commissioner also stated that the pandemic had been predicted years ago and the chances of more of such pathogens infecting humans, keeps increasing more so, because of the increased amount of environmental degradation.

He, however, assured that the Lagos state understands its unique demographic profiles and is taking proactive steps.

“We knew something like this was going to happen since 2015 and the WHO had been telling us that it was going to happen.

“Various think tanks around the world have been predicting it. We call these kind of germs, pathogens of high consequence.

“What that means is that if a pathogen like that gets into your community, there are high consequences not only for your wellbeing but to your economy and security.

“The way the world is going now, we are seeing an increase in number of these zoonotic events…what we call the ability of a dangerous pathogen to jump from the animal kingdom, to the human kingdom and that’s because we’ve destroyed our environment and the opportunity for these kinds of events is going to keep increasing.

“We know that in Lagos and we know that there are peculiar demographic profiles in Lagos and we know that to be successful in Lagos, you have to be on the offensive because we have a very unusual demographic profile and we have a relatively weak health infrastructure.

“You don’t recognise your weakness and wait for your enemy to come. You go out and attack”.

Meningitis Kills One Of 23 Patients In Cross River

Meningitis Kills One Of 23 Patients In Cross RiverThe Cross River State Ministry of Health says one patient out of 23 persons suffering from Cerebral Spinal Meningitis has died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.

Speaking at the hospital, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said the cases recorded were mainly from Ogoja and Yala Local Government Areas of the state.

“Cross River State is actually one of the 16 states with the outbreak of meningitis. We’ve had about twenty something cases and the very recent past, four cases almost at the same time which is not normal for the outbreak in Cross River State”, he said.

The Commissioner said the Ministry is on top of the game and is working hand-in-hand with the Disease Surveillance Control office in affected areas to manage the situation.

He regretted the death of a child as a result of the outbreak, assuring people of the state that a thorough investigation is ongoing to ensure they get vaccinated against the disease in the shortest possible time.

“We have lost one person already out of the number, a child and it is regretted. I have put machinery in place, a team led by the State Epidemiologist to carry out surveillance.

“It’s through line-listing that we were able to uncover these 23 cases, and another notable case is that they are from the northern part of Cross River State; mainly Ogoja and Yala Local Government Areas. We are treating the symptoms while we await the vaccines for the Type C,” Dr. Asibong said.

Kerosine Explosion: One Dead, 16 Others Severely Burnt In Calabar

One of the victims at the UCTH

One person has died while 16 others are being treated for severe burns  in Calabar the Cross River state capital.

The death and injuries occurred following an explosion linked to kerosene adulteration.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Asibong Inyang, who visited the victims at the hospital said the government is investigating the incident to find the root cause of the explosions.

She said the Ministry of Health would also educate residents on the dangers of using adulterated products, and promised to donate medical accessories to the ward in support of their treatment.

Also, while speaking to journalists, the State Commissioner for Petroleum, Itaya Asuquo Nyong, gave the assurance that his ministry would investigate those behind the adulteration and bring the culprits to book.

Other victims admitted to the hospital – (All females and one male)

“We will set up an investigative panel cos we want to get to the root cause of the matter and find out where this product is bought and I intend to involve the services of the operative agencies in this operation, because we intend to ensure that adequate punishment is given. We should never experience such in the state”.

Some of the victims who spoke to Journalists, expressed that they were in deep pains as a result of the burns from the explosion.

Kwara Govt. To Sanction Doctors Practising At Home

Abdulfatah-AhmedThe Kwara State Government has said that it will sanction doctors who are found to be operating medical services in their place of residence in the state.

The State Commissioner for Health, Mr Sulaiman Atolagbe Alege, while speaking to newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital, described the act as illegal and said that such has not been discovered, the ministry is on the watch out to bring culprits to book.

“The Kwara state ministry of health has a monitoring team that is saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and checking some of this illegal practices. If anyone is caught, he/she will be sanctioned.” He stated.

Meanwhile, a medical doctor who doubles as a Consultant of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor Rabiu Yinka has attributed the problem to faulty structure in the country.

According to Prof. Rabiu, he lamented that there should be relevant policies and structure to accommodate medical doctors before graduation.

He said, some graduate doctors indulge in the practice after failing to secure a place for their internship upon graduating from medical School.

However, the professor, who is also the chief medical director of Surulere Hospital in Ilorin, has appealed to the government to focus more on areas that can help to eradicate poverty, rather than embark on infrastructural projects.

“You cannot eradicate problems such as this except necessary policies and structures are put in place by the government at all levels.

“I want to enjoin government to concentrate on how to focus on poverty eradication, rather than going into some unnecessary projects.
Projects are good in fact it helps the state but the people should be helped,” Prof. Rabiu added.

In the same vein, a medical doctor, Dr. Olayiwola Ismail said that graduates in the field, are not certified to operate until they have undergone internship training.

However, he advised the public not to patronise doctors who operate from their homes for their health sake.

USAID Advocates Judicious Use Of Health Care Financing Options

usaidThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has advised federal and states governments to ensure judicious use of available health financing options in the face of dwindling global funding for the health sector in Nigeria.

A representative of the American agency, Mrs Celeste Carr, gave the advice at a workshop on health care financing for state commissioners of health and their legislators in Abuja.

According to her, Nigeria’s health sector can be appropriately financed even in the face of dwindling global funding if local funding options are properly utilized.

In the last one decade, the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), is said to have provided much funding for Nigeria’s health sector.

However, GAVI’s plans to stop the funding in the year 2017, has raised serious concerns about how the government will make up for the funding gaps that its exit and that of other donor partners would create.

Some participants in the forum have now advocated the need for a strong legal framework that will ensure universal health coverage and health care financing.

Meanwhile, a representative of the state’s Commissioner for Health, Balarabe Kakale, emphasized the need to implement the Abuja declaration of 2001 to improve financing for the health sector.

The nation’s annual appropriation for health has been fluctuating between 5.4 and 4.6 per cent of the total budget for the country since 2011.

However, in an attempt to improve the sector, the government is planning to scale the budget up to six per cent as it has earmarked 51 billion Naira for in the 2017 budget currently before the National Assembly.

Fake Doctor Nabbed For Carrying Out Illegal Abortion

Fake Doctor Nabbed For Carrying Out Illegal AbortionA fake doctor who allegedly performed an illegal abortion of a six month pregnancy in Akute, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State has been arrested.

The crime was uncovered by a supervisory team of the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) while monitoring the level of compliance of the re-validation and registration exercise of health facilities in the State.

Chairman of NANNM, Roseline Solarin who disclosed this during an interview added that the fake doctor was also discovered to have organised a graduation ceremony for a fake nurse.

She, however reiterated the readiness of the professional body to lead the fight against quackery in the health sector.

“This particular suspect conducted a graduation ceremony for a fake nurse. Let me assure that the NANNM is now fully ready to cooperate with the State Government in the fight against quackery in the State health sector.

Any nurses or doctor found practicing without the prerequisite certificate would be arrested and prosecuted” Solarin said.

While commending the state government for taking bold steps in fighting quackery in the health sector, Solarin lamented that fake doctors and nurses are gradually taking over the profession but  warned that anyone caught practicing without the prerequisite certificate would be prosecuted and shown the way out of the system.

Reacting to the development, the
declared that government was ready to combat quackery in the health sector to a standstill, expressing regret that a large number of unsuspecting members of the public had been victims of this practice

Ipaye declared that the state would not be a comfort zone for quack health personnel, warning that any health facility caught operating with fake documents or not having the new approved signboards by the state government would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the state.

“I want to urge members of the public to always patronize approved health facilities that have signboards with the new colour and coded number, which can offer them better and qualitative health care services.

”The Governor has mandated officials of the Ministry to arrest and prosecute anyone found operating facilities with fake documents” Ipaye said.

To send the right signal in this direction, over 60 illegal health facilities were shut down in different parts of the state during similar monitoring exercises in 2016.

Okorocha Launches Emergency Rescue Health Centre In Imo

Rochas Okorocha, Imo, Health, The Imo State government has commissioned a 24-hour emergency response centre aimed at delivering quality healthcare to the people of the state.

Governor Rochas Okorocha explained that the gesture by the state government was to address the deficiencies in the health sector.

He added that it would also cater for the tough challenges faced by people with petty and immediate health issues before being referred to a bigger hospital for treatment.

The Governor enjoined the people of the state to take advantage of the newly commissioned facility.

He noted that his administration was committed to delivering quality and qualitative healthcare to the people of the state, saying it has been demonstrated in the building of 27 general hospitals across the state and the ‘health at your door step initiative’.

The launch comes few days after the state government floated a new airline for commercial purposes.

In her address, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Ngozi Njoku, revealed that the centre, which is located in the heart of Owerri, has state of the art medical facilities that can cater for immediate health challenges.

She said it also has a 24-hours rapid response telephone services and stationed ambulances to help discharge its primary duties as stipulated.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was a special guest at the event, commended the Imo State government for the development.

Professor Adewole described it as a laudable gesture that would add value to the healthcare delivery system in the state.

Ogun State Asks Senator Kashamu To Suspend Healthcare Centre Renovation

buruji kashamuThe Ogun State government has asked Senator Buruji Kashamu not to play politics with people’s health, insisting that health centres he is renovating require total overhauling and not  renovation.

The demand was contained in a statement by the Commissioner for Health, Babatunde Ipaye, issued against the backdrop of superficial repair carried out at Obada Primary Health Care Centre, Ijebu-Igbo in Ijebu North Local Government Area of the State by the lawmaker who is representing Ogun East Senatorial District.

The Commissioner affirmed that “what the state and our communities require is a technically sound approach to health care system” and advised the Senator not to play politics with the health of the people.

Illegal And Unprofessional Repair

The statement described the alleged repair as misplaced and unnecessary saying; “my attention has been drawn to the press statement from Senator Buruji Kashamu on the illegal, unprofessional and cosmetic repair of Obada Health Centre, Ijebu Igbo.

“Let me state from the outset that the claim by the Senator, that the project was a constituency project has been refuted by the Honourable Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other agencies of Federal Government that should coordinate and monitor such projects”.

The Commissioner for Health further stated that 40 Primary Health Care Centres in the state required holistic approach and not cosmetic repair.

His statement is coming just as the government is embarking on a collaborative and technical support towards putting the health facilities across the State in an excellent shape.

He further indicated that the destruction of public asset and termination of health services without provision of alternate service point for over 250 registered antenatal patients should ordinarily attract significant sanction by the State Government, but for the decision of Governor Ibikunle Amosun led administration to tolerate opposition and pardon regrettable mistakes.

“The removal of the front wall of the health centre and replacement on the same old foundation and old roof without expansion of the existing space and without provision for health workers accommodation is not the kind of renovation our people deserve. Quality health service should not be treated as a political deceptive empowerment programme, ” the Commissioner stated.

Mr Ipaye in the statement said the health sector was one of the key areas in the country that must not be handled with levity, adding that the substandard repair without necessary approvals by the Federal, State and Local Government Authorities was suspicious and improper.

The Health Commissioner further emphasised that the State government remained committed to its plan to repair 40 Primary Health Centers including Obada Health Centre in line with the standard set by the Federal Government, saying that Senator Kashamu was welcomed to join hands with the State Ministry of Health to actualise the agenda of the State Government in the health sector.

Former Officeholders Get 1.5bn Naira Severance Allowance In Ogun

Ibikunle Amosun, Officeholders, Severance Allowance, OgunOgun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has handed over 1.5 billion Naira severance allowance cheques to former political officeholders who served the state between 2007 through 2015.

The officeholders who served under former Governor Gbenga Daniel were issued their cheques one after the other on Wednesday during an event at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, the state’s capital.

In his address, Governor Amosun highlighted some of the successes recorded in the past five years in the areas of infrastructure and industrial development Ogun State in southwest Nigeria.

He also sought the continuous understanding and cooperation of all residents, in the mission to rebuild the socio-economic development of the state.

The governor revealed that over 13 billion Naira had been injected into the state’s economy for payment of gratuity and other obligations.

The state’s former Commissioner for Health, Abiodun Oduwole and erstwhile Commissioner for Water Resources, Kola Onadipe, commended Governor Amosun for his generosity.

A total of 663 former political officeholders who had served the state in their different capacities benefited from the gesture.

Imo Striking Doctors Urged To Return To Work

Resident Doctors, FMC Owerri, StrikeThe Imo State government has urged striking health workers at the Federal Medical Centre Owerri to sheath their sword and return to work after a prolonged strike.

The Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Women and Social Development Mrs Ngozi Njoku, where she gave the charge during a Stakeholders meeting held in Owerri the Imo state capital to deliberate on possible ways to end the prolonged issue between management of the FMC and Joint health sector union in the centre.

She noted that the government was worried over the continuous deprivation of quality and affordable health ‎care to the people of the State due to persistent industrial actions in the facility.

At the meeting of stakeholders from Owerri which comprised of government functionaries, traditional rulers, members of the Nigerian Medical association, members of the Nigerian Union of Journalist, Labour unions, Nigerian Bar Association, civil society groups, clergy, security operatives as well as traders association have been drafted for a meeting to seek a way out of this lingering challenges at the FMC, Owerri.

The Commissioner for Health, Mrs Ngozi Njoku who represented the Imo state Governor said the workers should not entertain any fear of victimization as the management of the hospital had assured the government of its resolve.

She said ” This programme is aimed at finding out what we can do at FMC to help our people. This program’s objective is to consider the plight of our people and the disastrous effect.

Some of us have access abroad for medical treatment but some of us have their only hope in FMC to survive. As a good citizen of Nigeria, if there is something wrong in that institution you must feel concerned. You don’t play politics with the health of the people” Mrs Njoku said.
Speaking further “The MD FMC has assured me that she is not going to victimize anybody and she’s not going to blackmail anybody. If she does something contrary to her word of honour, then of course the government will then know that look at her quality”.
Since the recent protest carried out by the national leadership of the joint health sector union and health workers at the FMC Owerri calling on the Federal Government to reverse their action of recalling Dr Angela Uwakwem as the substantive medical director of the FMC Owerri, joint health workers sector union Johesu has since embarked on an indefinite strike.

Corroborating the State government’s stand in the issue, The Chairman Owerri Zonal Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Chidume Okoro lamented that efforts by Royal Fathers to mediate on the industrial disharmony met a brick wall as the Workers shunned their invitation.
Eze Okoro noted that the strike had led to the death of many residents of the state who could not ‎source health care elsewhere.

He however appealed to the striking workers to return to work in the interest of the public whom they serve. He added that the F.G has done its path in ensuring that peace returns to the Centre and therefore the workers should not in any way flout the directives of the federal government.

He said ” The message of the traditional rulers in Imo state to the people of Imo state and the general public, that the world and the country in particular we are passing through challenging situations, strive, wars, hunger, poverty, the striking workers must find an alternative means resolving whatever grievances they have. And they must return to work so that millions of imolites that benefit from the specialist medical facilities and services at the FMC would continue to do so.”

A co- convener and member of a Civil Society organization Mr. Princewill Okorie described the incessant closure of the Federal Medical Centre Owerri by health workers as an infringement on the rights of the people to access health care.

While calling on all stakeholders in the state to join forces in ensuring peaceful resolution of the crisis, he said the Joint health sector union should revert to the constitution of Nigeria and act according to the laws.

“While unions in FMC Owerri demands their rights, they should respect right of the citizens of Imo state to enjoy the services of the center, denial of the people of Imo state the right to use or benefit from the center by the staff or union amounts to crime against the people of Imo state, abuse of power and disrespect for the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria”

“In the general provisions of the constitution, it states that the constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities or persons throughout the federal republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed nor shall any persons or group of people take control of the government of Nigeria or any part there of, except in accordance of the provisions of this constitution” Comrade Okorie said.

In view of the ongoing impasse between the management and the health workers, the stakeholders recommended that the government should set up a stakeholders committee to monitor developments in the Centre so as to prevent further crisis in the Centre amongst other recommendations.

Hopefully, recommendations given by these stakeholders will be looked into by the authorities to find a lasting solution to the issues arising in the FMC Owerri.

Niger State Govt. Declares Emergency On Health Sector

Niger State Govt. Declares Emergency On Health SectorWorried by the state of health facilities in the state, the Niger state government on Thursday declared a state of emergency on the health sector with a view to repositioning the sector for better service delivery.

To this end, it has earmarked the sum of two billion Naira to upgrade five out of the 16 general hospitals in the state which have been left unattended to for the past ten years in the first phase of the project.

Briefing journalists after the State Executive Council meeting in Minna, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibrin, said that the government inherited what he called “moribund” health facilities across the state from the immediate past administration in the state.

He disclosed that the immediate past government in the state expended well over N5billion to build three general hospital in Gulu, Nasko and Wuse areas of the state, but only the one in Wuse was functional.

Those that will benefit from the first phase of the hospital rehabilitation project include the Suleja, Kontagora, Mokwa, Kagara and Minna general hospitals, while all the remaining ones would be attended to in the second phase of the project.

The Commissioner further disclosed that following the inadequate health personnel in the state-owned hospitals, and to ensure quick service delivery, the state government has employed an additional 40 medical doctors, 70 nurses and 10 hospital workers since the inception of the present administration.

He described the current situation where one doctor attends to nine patients as unacceptable.

He said that the state government has approved the immediate payment of the 100% salary structure for all categories of all health workers being enjoyed by their counterpart in other states across the country.

Ondo Govt. Sensitises Residents On Lassa Fever

Lassa-Fever-in-OndoResidents of Ondo State have been advised to maintain a healthy environment and avoid rats from getting in contact with their food, so as to prevent the spread of Lassa fever in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, stated this on Thursday at a sensitisation meeting on the management and control of Lassa fever held in Owo town of Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

The meeting comes up after a case of the viral disease was confirmed at the Federal Medical Centre in the town, while two other suspected cases are still being investigated.

The Commissioner had earlier stopped on the highway between Akure ‎and Owo to educate some residents on the need to stop spreading food substances such as cassava and yam flour near bushes, in order to prevent rats from contaminating the food.

He ‎disclosed that the state government had made funds available to procure the equipment for testing the disease, as the victims pass through a lot of suffering which worsens their situation when they are being transferred to Edo State for treatment.

Speaking to reporters, a public health physician, Dr. Olufemi Ayodeji, explained the cause of the disease and how it is transmitted.

He said that the symptoms of Lassa fever include body pains, vomiting and the regular fever just like malaria, saying it could only be diagnosed through medical tests on the victims.

The Vice Chairman of Owo Local Government, Mr Olusola Owadasa and the traditional ruler‎ of one of the towns in the area, Oba Omotunde Adako, voiced their support for the sensitisation programme.

They promised to help disseminate relevant information and also educate their people about the disease.