The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State Government Thursday explained how it’s spending between N100,000 and N1 million daily on each of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patient in the state.
Sanwo-Olu, speaking through his Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, at a media briefing, disclosed that for mild and moderate cases, Lagos State Government spends averagely about N100,000 daily.
He added that it costs the Sanwo-Olu administration between N500,000 and N1 million to manage a patient with a serious case.
While the commissioner explained that it would be extremely difficult to calculate the exact amount expends on each COVID-19 patient by the Sanwo-Olu administration to manage the deadly virus, he noted that what he provided was a rough estimate.
He said the estimated cost factored in treatment, cost of feeding, accommodation and the services provided by the healthcare givers, among others.
Meanwhile, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has disclosed that it would disburse N100 million each to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to boost their response against COVID-19.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
The minister explained that the funds would be made available to the states through the Regional Diseases Surveillance Enhancement (REDISSE) Project, saying REDISSE Project was initiated by the World Bank to cover all countries in the ECOWAS sub-region as a consequence of the 2014‒2015 West Africa Ebola crisis.
Lagos State Government also revealed that about 2,036 COVID-19 patients have not been picked from the community in the last two weeks, due to preference for home treatment, logistic issues, wrong information provided in their forms and inability to reach such patients because their phones were switched off.
The Sanwo-Olu administration has also reiterated that the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits for COVID-19 testing in Lagos remains illegal until the state could validate that the kits actually work.
Abayomi explained 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,” the commissioner said.
He explained that the Sanwo-Olu administration had considered the use of RDT kits as part of the strategies to expand its testing capacity, but noted, however, that none of 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 added that it’s also illegal for private health facilities to test or manage COVID-19 cases without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities.
“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 Sanwo-Olu administration, he maintained that the second phase of accreditation and validation of laboratories would be conducted when the demand arises.
Abayomi added that Lagos 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 programme.
“It is important to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency and Lagos State Government has adopted a central planning approach to managing its response,” he noted.
Assuring that plans are in top gear by the Sanwo-Olu administration to scale up sample collection at the 20 local government areas to include the 37 local council development areas in order to improve the efficiency of sample collection in the community, Abayomi disclosed that residents would have access to free oxygen therapy at some of the centres, if required, while arrangements would be made to transfer such a person to a COVID-19 centre.
Abayomi hinted that Lagos State Government would in the next couple of days transition to the next phase of the COVID-19 response, which he referred to as the community-based care.
“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 would be formally announced soon, Abayomi observed that vulnerable, elderly and severe-to-critically ill patients would 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 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-19 Lagos 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 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in Lagos State.
By Idowu Sowunmi