Reacting to the development yesterday, the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, said Nigerians should not only worry about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, but also the nation’s failed health system.
Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Casmir Ifeanyi, the association said the weak health system in the country called for concern, adding that it was impacting on the capacity of the nation to cope with the situation at hand.
“Nigerians do not only need to worry about Coronavirus but should be worried about our failed health system. We should be concerned about the fact that when people go to the hospital from the primary health centres, they have no functional laboratory facilities.
“It is unacceptable that Ogun State did not have capacity to test for Coronavirus; they had to bring patients to Lagos for testing. That shows that we are treating issues of disease outbreak with kid-gloves.”
Ifeanyi, who said the 2019 Global Health Security index score clearly showed that Nigeria’s health system was comatose, said enough had not been done.
“People ask me: should Nigerians be worried? I say yes. The 2019 Global Health Security Index scored Nigeria 19.9 per cent. If we judge by this rating, it shows that Nigeria’s health system is comatose.
“A health system that is rated 19.9 out of 100 cannot say it is ready for the protection of health service delivery to its citizens, let alone an outbreak that is shaking the entire globe to its roots.”
According to Ifeanyi, majority of the PHCs do not have full time medical laboratory human resources.
“You go there, they pack drugs and give you with no form of testing and diagnosis. That is the state of our primary healthcare. If you go to state hospitals, the laboratories are in disarray, infrastructure is not provided, human resources are not trained and retrained or recruited in right numbers. These are issues Nigerians should worry about.”
On Nigeria’s preparedness for COVID-19, he said: “I think they are saying so with expectation that, since it is a global outbreak, there will be resources coming from international and development partners in that regard.
“One may say government has put forward N384 million towards preparation for this Coronavirus infection, but if you convert that amount to dollars, it’s about one million dollars.”
Meanwhile, as part of efforts to further step up awareness and disseminate information on Coronavirus, COVID-19, among residents, Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu yesterday met with 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Area, LCDAs, chairmen and various stakeholders in the state on the need to be pro-active on the deadly disease.
Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who addressed journalists after the meeting at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, said the purpose of the meeting was to disseminate pamphlets to the society to further create awareness on the virus.
He said over a hundred contacts of the index case of the Italian being treated for the virus had been established, adding that they were being monitored in the state’s isolation medical facilities or their homes.
According to the commissioner, the state government is intensifying efforts to establish some of the Italian man’s contacts, and that two people from Ogun State that were tested on Sunday were negative.
The commissioner stated that the government was being proactive to prevent spread of the virus in the state, adding that up-to-date information could be accessed from his personal social media platforms and the Health Ministry.
Abayomi, therefore, urged residents to desist from spreading fake news on the virus especially on any platform on the social media, advising health workers to be careful when treating patients with symptoms which included diarrhoea, cough, sneezing among others.
Abayomi urged residents to reduce the amount of body contact s and maintain high level of personal hygiene.