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Members of the Diplomatic Community in Lagos, Nigeria have scored Lagos State Government high on its COVID-19 response and management effort which have seen the state overcome three successive waves of the global pandemic.
Speaking after meeting with team leads of the Lagos State COVID-19 Incident Command Structure and the Emergency Operation Centre and a tour of the Infectious Disease Hospital and Biosecurity facility, Yaba, led by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, members of the diplomatic communities agreed that the State Government has done a lot to mitigate the scourge of the infection while pledging to continue to offer support to the COVID19Lagos response directly and indirectly.
In her remarks, the Consul General of France in Nigeria, Laurence Monmayrant said she is impressed by the biosecurity facilities that were put in place at IDH by the State Government to prosecute the war against the global pandemic.
She harped on the need to ensure that more citizens are vaccinated as a way to mitigate the new wave of the pandemic.
She said “I’m really impressed by what I have seen today, I enjoyed the visit because this is really something we’ve been looking at since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen that Lagos State has done a lot.
“But it is one thing to read and see it in the media report and it is another thing to come and see on the spot what is happening here, so it was a very interesting day here today.
“Many of us within the diplomatic communities have coorperation within Lagos State, although we don’t have direct cooperation with Lagos State on the response but our french companies do.
“For instance, Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi was just recalling that a French company, Total, has financed the Oxygen producing unit and plant. This is one example and I could cite many others of French companies who chose to stay during the pandemic and to help Lagosians as much as they could on many products which were useful in the fight against COVID-19.
“We understood that we are near the end of the third wave in Lagos but I understand that Lagos State Authorities are already anticipating, because this is really what we all do worldwide, COVID is a big challenge for every country and it is not easy and it is important to anticipate, to use the tools that we have, such as vaccines and I think Lagos State has done a lot and continue to take measures for now and for the future and that’s a good thing”.
Speaking in the same vein, the Consulate General of Netherlands, Michel Deelen said the biosecurity facilities at IDH are impressive. He however noted that non-pharmaceutical interventions of social distancing, hand hygiene and face mask use should be encouraged and adhered to in order to curb a possible high rate of positive case management at the biosecurity facility.
He said: “I was very impressed by the high quality of the facility here. It is really state-of-the-art but of course we could prevent people from getting so far to be admitted here. So the general rule of face masks use, keeping distances, hygiene, and hand washing should be encouraged and adhered to”.
Speaking on support, the Netherlands diplomat noted that his country is supporting the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative which is championing the availability of COVID vaccine to many countries in Africa including Nigeria.
“Specifically on health care, we also work together with Lagos State through an organization called PharmAccess to strengthen the health care system”, he added.
Also speaking, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones said he is impressed with the huge investment made in the State biosecurity facility. He added that the British Government would continue to support the Lagos State Government in its response efforts against the COVID pandemic.
“It is extremely impressive to see what the Health Commissioner, Prof. Abayomi has shown us, Mr. Governor has really invested time, effort, expertise and professionalism and I think all of are not surprised, we knew what was there but we were impressed with the sequencing facility that has been established here, which is the largest in sub Saharan Africa”, he said.
Earlier in his presentation, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi gave an overview and profile of the COVID pandemic in Lagos State and highlighted the State response and future plans.
He noted that Lagos State has yet again successfully flatten the curve of COVID infection stressing that the State is out of the third wave of the pandemic earlier than envisaged.
While noting that various waves of the infection in Lagos were mostly from importation, the Commissioner noted that the government is doing all it can to evolve an ingenious way of implementing the COVID protocols and whilst also sanctioning defaulters.
“We are anticipating some further activities in COVID, as you know the yuletide season brings a lot of air travel. We will definitely not slow down the economy but we will ask the economy to be vigilant and people coming into Lagos will have to go through necessary screening to make sure any variant of COVID infection does not find its way into the State and the Country.
“COVID is here to stay and will keep circulating for a long time, and what Mr Governor has said is that we will keep the economy open, we will beef up our vaccination campaign
“We appeal to Lagosians to be civil members of the society and follow the guidelines that we and the federal government has put in place in anticipation of the yuletide movement”, Abayomi noted.
On the delegation of the Diplomatic Community are: the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada, Teshome Nkrumah; Political/Economic Section Chief of the United States Consulate General in Lagos -Nigeria; Brandon Hudspeth; Acting Head of Mission, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lagos, Dr. Bernd von Münchow-Pohl; Deputy Head of Mission, British High Commission, Peter Thomas amongst others.
Also present at the meeting were: the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, Director Epidemiology Biosecurity and Global Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ismail Abdul-Salam; Medical Director, Infectious Disease Hospital, Dr. Abimbola Bowale; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr Oreoluwa Finnih; Consultants to the the Lagos State Ministry of Health on Biobank, Prof. Sunday Omilabu; Biosecurity expert, Dr. Babatunde Saka and the Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Dr. Tunde Ajayi.
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