Ebola: Lagos to reopen First Consultant Hospital ‘soon’

Patrick Sawyer Liberian who died of the Ebola virus in Lagos

The Lagos State government has said that First Consultant Medical Centre, the hospital where Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, died of Ebola Virus Disease, will be reopened “soon.”

At a press conference in Lagos, Friday, Jide Idris, the state’s Health Commissioner, said that the facility would be reopened following three rounds of state-certified decontamination process.

“With the detection of a confirmed case at NNPC Clinic, the facility was shut down to also facilitate the decontamination process. The 24 patients/health workers at this health facility at the point in time when the case was detected are under surveillance. It is pertinent to mention that health facilities with confirmed cases are only temporarily shut down to facilitate case evacuation and decontamination processes following which they will be reopened,” said Mr. Idris.

He also said that contrary to claims that the isolation facility at the Yaba Mainland Hospital did not have basic amenities, the state government had established a 40-bed complex with male and female wards for confirmed cases.

“We have followed guidance from the CDC and other partners and established an 8-bed Isolation Ward upgraded to hold suspected cases, backed up by two emergency tents to hold additional 24 suspected cases,” said Dr. Idris.

“A dedicated borehole, dedicated 60KVA generator backed up by a 250KVA unit for the entire complex, involvement of LAWMA in medical waste management, and two 5,000 litre septic tanks (one each for urine and faeces) – decontaminated prior to evacuation have been provided. All the patients have been moved to this new facility and there are on-going plans to establish more isolation centres.”

The Health Commissioner also appealed to Lagos residents not to hide suspected Ebola cases or attempt treatment outside the internationally sanctioned treatment centre in the state.

“Appropriate processes will be followed which includes having trained personnel perform screening at your location. Keep patients in an isolated space, use the universal precautions with gloves, water impermeable gowns and face shields, and call the Ebola line for further help. We wish to reassure our private hospitals that facilities that require decontamination will be rapidly reopened after the decontamination process,” he added.

Mr. Idris said that the major challenge faced by the state was the dearth of personnel with requisite experience.

“We require experts in different medical fields including critical care and infectious diseases and these still need to be trained using the WHO protocol which may require up to five days of committed training before such experts can apply their skills safely without risk to themselves. Our international experts are currently providing this training on site.”

According to Mr. Idris, burial ceremonies where mourners, including family members, have direct contact with patients who died of Ebola had played a role in the spread of the virus.

“It is also a clarion call to residents to adhere to the highest possible standards of personal and environmental hygiene. In the overriding interest of all of all of us, there will be a zero tolerance stance to indiscriminate public urination and defecation,” he said.


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