Two Years Inter-Ministerial: Sanwo-Olu’s Health Sector Scorecard – Prof Akin Abayomi

Lagos State Government has embarked on a total overhaul of infrastructure across all levels of its healthcare delivery system. Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi broke the news at the ongoing inter-ministerial press briefing organised to mark the second year anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi at the ongoing inter-ministerial press briefing organised to mark the second year anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office.

Governor rolls out medical infrastructure upgrade 

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Lagos State Government has embarked on a total overhaul of infrastructure across all levels of its healthcare delivery system. Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi broke the news at the ongoing inter-ministerial press briefing organised to mark the second year anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office.

The Commissioner said the roadmap for the upgrade of infrastructure in the State-owned health facilities began last year, following the approval of the plan by the executive council. 

At the event held at the Press Centre in Alausa, Abayomi also gave account of stewardship of the Ministry’s activities in the last two year. 

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The Commissioner explained that the infrastructure roadmap was being executed by the ministry’s Medical Project Implementation Unit (MPIU) in phases, revamping facilities across primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. He said the overhaul was part of a strategy to build a resilient healthcare in Lagos and increase residents’ access to quality universal health coverage. 

Abayomi said the effort would bring about fit-for-purpose healthcare facilities that would raise the capacity of the State Government to respond to contemporary and future health challenges, while observing that the renewal effort was being carried out in short, medium- and long-term bases. 

Part of the new features to be seen, the Commissioner said, will include improved efficiency for physical maintenance, ease of movement, low carbon footprint, 

low energy consumption, infection prevention and control as well as staff and patient comfort.

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He said: “In last one year, we have embarked on a phased but comprehensive revamp of our secondary health facilities as part of our medical infrastructure upgrade roadmap which is aimed at raising access to quality and bringing about efficiently run health facilities.

 This effort commenced in the previous year and it is expected to address issues of design errors, drainage, patient flow, staff flow, water collection, infection prevention, energy and ventilations.

“We have renovated and remodeled the Mainland Hospital in Yaba with future plans of making it an Institute of Research for Infectious Disease. We have also completed the remodeling and upgrade of Apapa General Hospital, just as we currently renovate Harvey Road Health Centre, Ebute Metta Health Centre, Isolo General Hospital and the General Hospital, Odan Lagos. All of these are in the effort to make health accessible.”

According to the Commissioner, the Sanwo-Olu administration has completed, equipped and handed over two multi-level Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) in Eti-Osa and Badagry. The construction of another 110-bed MCC, he said, has been completed in Epe and is due for commissioning in the coming weeks.

 Abayomi noted that the upgrade was being done in a sustainable way, which would take another decade for major repairs to be done, except statutory maintenance by the hospital management and the Lagos State Asset Maintenance Agency (LASIAMA).

He disclosed executive council had also approved the construction of new hospitals to bridge gaps in access and services in the health sector. This, he said, is in tandem with the determination of current administration to achieve the goals set in the Health and Environment pillar of its T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

He said: “In fulfilment of our medical infrastructure blueprint agenda, we have commenced the construction of a 280-bed General Hospital in Ojo, 150-bed New Massey Street Children’s Hospital, while the Governor has also approved the construction and equipping of 1,500-bed Psychiatric Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre at Majidun in Ketu Ejinrin.

“In the course of the year, we have completed the construction of a four-storey Faculty of Basic Medical and Clinical Sciences Office Block at Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) and plans have been concluded for renovation and upgrade of some facilities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in tandem with our medical infrastructure blueprint strategy for the tertiary health facilities.

“In partnership with the private sector, we have completed and handed over an oxygen plant at Mainland and Gbagada General Hospitals. We have delivered Traige and Oxygen Centres in 10 locations across Lagos. In raising staff welfare, we have started the construction of a 24-unit Doctors’ and Staff Quarters in at Gbagada General Hospital.”

Abayomi also disclosed that work had begun on the blueprint designs for Comprehensive Health Center, Primary Health Center and Health Posts as part of the move to rejig their operations and service delivery. This, he said, will help in adding significant bed capacity to Lagos State’s healthcare infrastructure.

While noting that the promotion and protection of the health of residents of Lagos State has a positive impact on social development and quality of life of citizens, Abayomi disclosed that the State government embarked on the greenfield medical infrastructure projects to prevent issues noticed in health infrastructure across all levels of care in the State. He added that all issues bedeviling medical health infrastructure will disappear when the medical infrastructure blueprint strategy is fully implemented.

“The continuous improvement in quality of health service in the State is a core mandate of our administration and we are uniquely positioned to utilize available resources to actualize this goal. With the ongoing refurbishment and roll out of new infrastructure blueprint, the medical infrastructure landscape of the State would look completely different, giving us a step closer to achieving universal health coverage”, he stated.

He averred that the medical infrastructure blueprint agenda will help address the issue of brain drain, medical travels and patient welfare stressing that the State government through the strategy hoped to endear medical tourism to the State. 

“The prototype of the new, remodeled and upgraded healthcare infrastructure in the state will conform with key elements of global standards health facility designs which includes Natural Light/Ventilation, Sustainable Energy, Patient Flow, Infection Prevention, Noise Prevention, Flood Prevention, Identifiable standout visual features as well as scalability and modular design for expansion”, Abayomi stated.

The second wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which spread more rapidly across Lagos State than the first wave, would have wreaked havoc on the country, the Commissioner said. He said the response strategy put in place by the Governor efficiently curtailed the pandemic and limited fatalities. 

The Commissioner said the effectiveness of the State’s response strategy saved the country from negative impacts associated with the pandemic’s second wave as seen in other countries. He added that EKO TELEMED – a tech-driven platform through which the State Government managed the spread of the virus – yielded efficient results in breaking the cycle of community infection.

The Commissioner said there was an ongoing effort by the State Government to prevent a third wave of the pandemic, noting that Lagos had started the deployment of EKO TELEMED in the management of in-bound international travellers from high burden countries. The tech-driven platform, he said, would be used to monitor movement and treat infected travelers.

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A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.