Doris Obinna, Lagos
The Lagos State Government has urged Lagosians to disregard a list making the rounds on social media of hospitals and health facilities purportedly exposed to COVID-19 cases in the state.
The Executive Secretary, State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Dr Abiola Idowu, in a statement released late Thursday night, debunked the list which was said to have emanated from the Ministry of Health.
According to her, the Ministry of Health through the HEFAMAA never issued any statement advising the public not to visit certain facilities supposedly exposed to COVID-19 cases in the state.
COVID19: LAGOS URGES PUBLIC TO DISREGARD LIST OF HOSPITALS EXPOSED TO COVID19 CASES
……..Cautions Against Stigmatizing Facilities With Confirmed COVID19 Cases @followlasg@jidesanwoolu@drobafemihamzat@JokeSanwoolu@ProfAkinAbayomi@HEFAMAA_LASG @agpmpn1@LagosNma @NCDCgov pic.twitter.com/cD45l3hpef
— LSMOH (@LSMOH) April 23, 2020
“This is the handiwork of mischief makers and fake news merchants who are bent on causing panic in the community and eroding the successes recorded in the battle against COVID-19.
“I, therefore, urge residents to disregard the list in its entirety and rely solely on the Ministry of Health and HEFAMAA for information on the operation of health facilities and management of COVID-19 cases especially at this critical time,” she stated.
Idowu, however, explained that some health facilities might inadvertently admit or treat patients with COVID-19 without being aware of it.
“If this happens,” she said, “the facility would be temporarily closed for decontamination while the staff would be trained on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) after which the facility is safe to carry on its normal operations.
“People should desist from stigmatising such facilities, they are only closed for decontamination and once that has been done as well as other necessary protocols, the facility is safe to offer services to the public.”
She added: “Stigma can drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination, prevent people from seeking health care immediately and discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours.
“All health facilities operating in Lagos should adhere strictly to the principle on infection prevention and control, maintain a high degree of suspicion for COVID-19 and adhere strictly to laid down protocols for any suspicion.
“IPC will help reduce human-to-human transmission and secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers.”
Highlighting some of the critical components of the protocol, Idowu explained that each healthcare facility must have a plan and a team in place to address COVID-19 issues such as triaging and assigning responsibility for notification or communication with the State’s COVID-19 response team through the 08000CORONA (0800 026 7662) toll-free line.”
She warned that facilities providing “unauthorised admission and treatment of confirmed COVID-19 cases caught violating the laid-down protocol of operations especially with regard to COVID-19 case management would be sanctioned in line with the extant provision of the law.”