The Lagos State Government has raised alarm over sales of fake COVID-19 test results in the state, warning that processes are being put in place to clamp down on both buyers and sellers.
It also disclosed that in order to properly treat critical COVID-19 cases, the state has completed 10 oxygen centres across 10 COVID-19 high-burden local government areas in the state.
The state also threatened to deactivate the passports of travelers who refuse to comply with COVID-19 testing protocols. Lagos, which is the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, has recorded over 28,700 cases, with 236 fatalities.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has expressed worry over sensationalism being attached to the alarm it raised last week that 20 medical doctors died within a week from COVID-19.
This came as the World Bank said that the pandemic has further exposed the weaknesses of education systems around the world and might have increased Learning Poverty Rate by 10 points, from 53 per cent to 63 per cent in low and middle income countries, like Nigeria.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who briefed newsmen, yesterday, said: “Positivity in the state for inbound travellers is on the rise (8% this week, 4% cumulative) as Nigerians in Diaspora return to spend Christmas in Lagos.
“It has come to our attention that a number of people are patronizing individuals that sell fake COVID-19 results. We are currently putting in processes to identify both buyers and sellers and we will not hesitate to prosecute either to the full extent of the law.”
Frowning on non-compliance on the part of inbound travellers, he said a significant number of the people who registered on the Lagos State COVID-19 portal for post-arrival test have been tested while there are a number of people who paid for the test, but did not show up for testing. “Efforts are being made through our logistics arm to reach this group of people.
These attempts have been met with challenges as several people used fake contact information while registering on the testing portal.” Stating that for the sake and safety of the general public, such people should come for testing immediately, he threatened to submit their details to the Presidential Task Force for deactivation of their passports.
On the decentralised Oxygen Therapy Strategy, he said in order to better manage severe-to-critical cases, the state is in the process of deploying oxygen therapy centres in the following high burden LGAs: Out of the 10 oxygen centres, three centres including MCC, Eti Osa, General Hospital, Alimosho and General Hospital, Isolo have been completed while the centres in Aguda PHC, Surulere, General Hospital, Gbagada, Ifako-Ijaye, Ibeju-Lekki PHC, Apapa, Odi-Olowo PHC, Mushin and Amuwo-Odofin MCC will be completed in two weeks.
Abayomi explained that the centres which will also serve as a sample collection centres house between four to six beds strictly for critical cases that need oxygen.
He said the structures sited in the state public health facilities will be used for other things such as immunization after COVID-19 pandemic.
Giving details on testing, Abayomi said the state has increased its testing capacity per day to between 2,000 and 3,000 per day.
On volume of samples tested by public and private laboratories, the commissioner said a total of 236,212 samples had been tested, of which 213,623 valid initial samples and the balance 22,589 were repeat samples tested; also, 28,774 were diagnosed positive.
He explained that the state has the highest positivity rate in July with 17.8 per cent followed by December 2020, with 13.1 per cent. He noted that in positivity rate, Eti-Osa LGA still leads with 27 per cent, followed closely by Ajeromi and Surulere with 26 per cent and Amuwo-Odofin with 25 per cent among others.
Abayomi said the state is still testing free of charge for those that have symptoms, while people testing for other reasons were directed to accredited private laboratories where they will pay.
“If you want to test for reasons such as travel and other work-related activities, please proceed to our accredited private laboratories to receive your COVID-19 tests.
You can book for your private COVID-19 tests on our portal, https://covid19.lagosstatebiobank.com for requests within Lagos State; or the national platform, https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng for inbound and outbound travellers.”
On the second wave, Abayomi said the state had gone into second wave early due to the opening of the economy, general laxity, false sense of security and non-adherence to guidelines, reopening of schools, variants, large religious, congregation, social gatherings and entertainment, He said currently the state has 437 isolation bed capacities out of which 328 beds are free.
“Currently, 75 persons are on admission while 28 persons are waiting for their results. We are managing the virus better now and our Convalescence research is showing some benefits for patients with respiratory failure.” Mr Gbenga Omotosho, Information and Strategy Commissioner, joined Abayomi in the briefing.
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr Enema Amodu, in a statement, yesterday, said in the last few days, he had been inundated with calls and messages across the country on the issue of 20 doctors that died.
He expressed disappointment that “the focus seemed to have shifted from the facts of the matter to the sensationalism now attached to it.”
The facts, according to him, were that “doctors and other health workers are being paid abysmally low hazard allowance; there are not enough PPEs available to doctors and other health workers in the frontline and that the turnaround time, and accuracy of the testing for the coronavirus should be improved upon.”
Others are: “There should be a comprehensive life insurance in place for doctors and other health personnel that risk their lives in the line of duty and that isolation centres should be properly equipped with drugs and personnel to manage cases as they come.”
Amodu however, thanked President Mohammadu Buhari, who he said “has reacted to our cry, and has promised to improve on the welfare packages of doctors.” He also thanked the “Minister of FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello, who he said ensured the prompt payment of hazard allowance to FCT doctors.”
“Once again, we mourn with our collea-gues’ families that have died. While we pray for their gallant souls to rest in peace, we also pray for those of us alive to remain so in good health.” COVID-19 raises Learning Poverty Rate to 63% in Nigeria, others — World Bank The World Bank report is entitled “Realising the future of learning: From learning poverty to learning for everyone, everywhere.”
It also noted that about 43.6 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated population of over 150 million between the ages of 0-14, no fewer than 30 million Nigerians could be affected.
This is inclusive of over 13 million Nigeria’s out-of-school children, the highest in the world. Learning Poverty is defined by the World Bank as the inability to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10, adding that when a child cannot read, it further impedes his/her ability to succeed in school and beyond. According to the bank, too many education systems are not delive-ring even basic skills for all children, let alone preparing them for the demanding world they will live in as adults. However, the report noted that COVID-19 has opened a window of opportunity for education systems to move to a path of accelerated progress, adding that “it is now possible to bring forward to today elements that many would have thought are part of the future of learning.
“A vision of this future should guide today’s investments and policy reforms so that countries can lay the foundations for effective, equitable and resilient education systems.”
The bank charged countries to chart their own paths with political commitment to carry out investment and reforms in five key areas.
It listed the areas to include learners that are prepared and motivated to learn; teachers that are effective and valued; learning resources including curricula, that are diverse and of high quality.
Other areas are schools that are safe and have inclusive spaces and education systems that are well managed.
Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria