Lagos Predicts Drastic Decline in COVID-19 Cases by November

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi
  • Says Primary Healthcare Centres will monitor patients under home care

Martins Ifijeh

The Lagos State Government has predicted drastic decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state by November this year.

The state government has also concluded arrangements with the 57 flagship Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the state to embark on monitoring of patients with asymptomatic, mild and moderate cases of the virus who it hoped to confine to homecare soon.

Announcing this during the Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s one year in office, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said: “It is difficult to predict when the pandemic will end in Nigeria because this depends on a lot of factors. But in the next four to six months (between September and November), we will see sharp decline in number of cases in the country, and this will signal that we are coming towards defeating the outbreak.

“We are watching what is happening across the world and using the pattern of the outbreak in different environments to try and reach some kind of modeling pattern. This will tell us when it will peak, and then when it will finally end.”

He reiterated that by the end of July, Lagos was likely to reach between 90, 000 to 120, 000 cases of COVID-19, adding that these figures do not signify a peak period for the state.

“Because of this projection, we are ramping up our testing capacity. We are currently doing 2000 testing every day, and this represents the highest in the country.

“Of the 90, 000 projected cases, don’t forget about 95 per cent of the persons will be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Only five per cent will require serious or intensive attention. It is this small percentage we are worried about, and it is the ones we will like to manage in our isolation centres because we hope to give them close medical monitoring.”

He said for those who are asymptomatic or with mild to moderate symptoms, the state will confine them in their homes, adding that, “We will use the PHC platform to deliver COVID-19 response to this category of cases. We have been revitalising our primary healthcare structure, and we are in the process of cascading management of the disease at primary healthcare levels. We are going to do that through our 57 flagship facilities,” he added.

The commissioner also said the state’s primary healthcare system has carried out comprehensive assessment of no fewer than 329 Primary Health Centres (PHCs), adding that this was focused on the level of functionality and geographical positioning system of the PHCs to identify gaps for service improvement efforts.

Abayomi explained that the comprehensive assessment was carried out in collaboration with two nongovernmental organisation; Health Assist and PharmAccess Foundation to improve the quality of service delivery at PHCs across the state.

The Commissioner noted that with the assessment, the key areas of focus of PHC revitalisation will include infrastructural upgrade, data management, operational cost, power supply, water supply, drug supply, sewage management, staffing, immunisation programmes, bridging communication gap between the Ministry of Health, Local Government and Primary Healthcare Board, facility management and monitoring, financing mechanism, insurance scheme, amongst others. He added that these were issues that had constituted challenge for third tier of health care delivery which must be addressed.

“We are not unmindful of the challenges facing PHC system, this is the reason why we embarked on the assessment exercise as part of our plan to effect major and lasting transformations that will make access to healthcare facilities at the grassroots hitch free”.

“Equipped with knowledge of identified gaps, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the last one year embarked on the construction and renovation of 39 PHCs across all 57 local government and local council development areas to bridge the gaps; 23 of these PHCs are completed and ready for commissioning while others are at various stages of completion”, he said.

Abayomi added that the Sanwo-Olu led administration had constructed and delivered five Medical Porta cabins to five PHCs as part of its infrastructural upgrade drive for improved service delivery. He noted that this was done in collaboration with Rotary International.

The commissioner advocated for more synergy between the ministry, the local government authorities and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to have a robust and viable service delivery at the PHC level stressing that it would only amount to an exercise in futility if all stakeholders work at variance.

The Commissioner who also highlighted achievements recorded in other tiers of health service delivery noted that the increased investment in the health sector in the last one year covering infrastructure, human resource for health, disease control, use of technology and innovation, coupled with the implementation of the Lagos State Health Scheme affirms the commitment of Sanwo-Olu led administration to the attainment of the universal health coverage.