The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday introduced more palliative scheme for vulnerable residents who might be affected by the ongoing 14-day lockdown directive imposed by the Federal Government in the State.
For the duration of the lockdown, the state government will be offsetting the medical bills of any patient admitted into the State-owned secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced in a briefing after the State’s Security Council meeting held at the State House in Marina.
The new palliative scheme, Mr Sanwo-Olu said, will cover the medical equipment expenses of pregnant women on maternity delivery and other categories of patients in emergency, casualty cases, laboratory testing and surgeries.
Also, the governor said the cost of any medication bought at the state-owned secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities would be borne by the government during the period of lockdown.
The move, Mr Sanwo-Olu said, is to ameliorate the difficulties that may be experienced by those whose wellbeing may have been affected by the ongoing restrictions initiated to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the State.
Lagos is worst hit of the three states currently locked down by the Federal Government. Others are Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mr Sanwo-Olu said measures had been put in place to ensure the scheme was not compromised, adding that the palliative would make great impact on those in need of medical attention in the period of lockdown.
He said: “Lagos State Government will, for the duration of the restriction on movement, be taking full responsibility for the medical bills of all patients who fall in the following categories at all Lagos State-owned secondary healthcare facilities.
“The first category are patients in emergency, casualty cases, including registration, laboratory tests, surgeries, and drugs. Those in the second category are maternity cases. We will bear the full cost of pregnant women on normal delivery and Caesarean sections in our hospitals in this period of lockdown.
“What this new scheme means is that, at this time, patients with the listed medical conditions will not need to pay to access treatment and care in all our 27 General Hospitals across the State.”
The governor said the state had started to review the process of distribution of food relief package, which was introduced at the beginning of the restriction, admitting that the programme had made positive difference in the lives of the intended beneficiaries.
He, however, pointed out that there was ongoing appraisal of the social intervention programme, which, he said, was necessitated by pockets of irregularities observed in its implementation.
Mr Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the restrictive measures had started to pay off, stressing that lockdown had afforded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to keep up and make appropriate progress in tracing of contacts.
“The restrictions have started paying off; the Nigeria Center for Disease Control has told us that they have been able to take advantage of the absence of traffic on our roads to make appreciable progress in their contact tracing,” the governor said.
He said all patients in the state’s isolation centres were doing well and recovering faster despite the surge in Covid-19 case in Lagos. A patient, Sanwo-Olu said, was discharged on Saturday afternoon, making it 24 COVID-19 patients treated and released by the State.
Mr Sanwo-Olu reiterated his government’s commitment to security of residents’ lives and property, warning hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the ongoing restriction of movement to rob. The Governor ordered 24-hour security surveillance across residential areas and asked the police to dislodge hoodlums in various spots across the State.
He also said more measures would be introduced to ensure the lockdown remains effective.
On whether there would be extension of the lockdown, Mr Sanwo-Olu said: “We are in the period of national emergency and the ongoing restriction was declared by the President. If there’s need for an extension, the Federal authorities will decide that based on the outcome of the ongoing measures.”