……..Cautions Against Stigmatizing Facilities With Confirmed COVID19 Cases
The Lagos State Government has urged members of the public to disregard a list making the round on social media of hospitals and health facilities purportedly exposed to COVID19 cases in the State.
Executive Secretary, State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), Dr. Abiola Idowu who disowned the list which was said to have emanated from the Ministry of Health stated that the Ministry of Health through HEFAMAA never issued any statement advising the public not to patronize certain facilities exposed to COVID19 cases in the State.
“This is the handiwork of mischief makers and fake news merchant who are bent on causing panic in the community and eroding the successes recorded in the battle against COVID19”.
“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 COVID19 cases especially at this critical time”, She said.
Idowu explained that some health facilities might inadvertently admit or treat patients with #COVID19 without knowing. She stated that if this happens, the facility would be temporarily closed for decontamination while the staff would be trained on Infection, Prevention and Control after which the facility is safe to carry on its normal operations.
She appealed to members of the public to desist from stigmatizing health facilities that might have been exposed to #COVID19 cases as well as patients infected with COVID19 to prevent severe health problems.
“We need people to desist from stigmatizing 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,’’ the Executive Secretary stated.
Idowu also observed that 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.
She urged all health facilities operating in Lagos to adhere strictly to the principle on Infection Prevention and Control, maintain high degree of suspicion for #COVID19 and adhere strictly to laid down protocols for COVID19 suspicion. She added that 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 COVID19 issues such as triaging and assigning responsibility for notification or communication with the Lagos State COVID19 response team through the 08000CORONA (0800 026 7662)toll free line.
She advised facilities against unauthorized admission and treatment of confirmed COVID19 cases, warning that any facilities caught violating the laid-down protocol of operations especially with regard to COVID19 case management would be sanctioned in line with the extant provision of the law.
She reiterated that only facilities approved by the State Government for COVID19 case management are expected to carry out the management of COVID19 cases.
Idowu urged individuals in the State to desist from issuing panicky statements to the public on operation of health facilities. This according to her is capable of causing confusion and making the fight against the pandemic more challenging.
‘’I enjoin all health facilities operators in the State to direct all enquiries and complaints on COVID19 case management as well as other issues bordering on their operations to the Lagos State Ministry of Health through HEFAMAA. We can be reached through the following telephone numbers – 09015637023, 09057273396, 09038795500, 08172704228 or visit our website at hefamaa.lagosstate.gov.ng”, She said.