Covid-19 And The Lagos Excellent Approach
ENGR. ABIODUN TAIWO (DBA)
Since the discovery and the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, many had expressed concern about the spread of the virus especially in densely populated areas.
The spread of the virus also coincided with the Chinese New Year, when most of their nationals return from different parts of the world to celebrate with their families. As expected, Chinese nationals living or working in Nigeria especially Lagos, the commercial nerve centre, travelled for the celebration and many were of the opinion that it was just a matter of days before COVID-19 will be reported in Lagos.
Through different platforms and medium, many expressed pessimistic opinions about the capacity of the Centre of Excellence to handle the situation should COVID-19 find its way into the hugely populated state.
Eventually, on 24th February, 2020, an Italian, whose country is the worst hit in Europe by the Coronavirus, arrived Lagos on a Turkish Airlines flight. After his visit to Lafarge Cement Company in Ogun State, developing fever and back aches, the firm contacted the Biosecurity authorities and he was transferred to the containment facility in Yaba, Lagos.
The moment the Virology Laboratory at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of National Centre for Disease Control, on 27th February confirmed the Italian with symptoms of COVID-19, the authorities in Lagos and Ogun State immediately identified all contacts since he entered the country and had them quarantined.
Dousing the fear of the residents, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, immediately launched an Incident Command System in order to ensure prevention of spread. Mr. Sanwo-Olu also took charge as the Incident Commander with the Commissioner of Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, as his Deputy. The Command is to work with healthcare professionals in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (the Executive Governor of Lagos State) immediately provided human and material logistics required for the tasking exercise and hinted that it will continue to be in operation until it is certain and certified that Lagos State is no longer at risk of the deadly virus.
Not relenting, the wife of the Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has since hit the roads and the markets across the State to sensitize Lagosians about the need to prevent the spread of the disease. She has continued to emphasize on the need for residents to imbibe the habit of regular hand washing with soap and water as well as lots of fruits intake in order to build immunity against the disease.
Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, (wife of the Executive Governor of Lagos State), has equally encouraged the residents on the use of handkerchiefs especially in public and crowded places. She has gone a step further; the Governor’s wife promised a huge reward for the market that would emerge as the cleanest market in Lagos State. This is aimed at encouraging traders across the State to ensure clean environment in order to stem the spread of diseases.
Showing utmost concern for the welfare of the residents, the Lagos State Government, through the Office of Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, partnered Dettol Clean Naija to take hand washing advocacy to public primary schools across the State with the aim of containing the spread of the virus. They also used the opportunity to teach the pupils hygiene and prevention of diseases like COVID-19. The pupils were equally encouraged on regular hand washing with the distribution of free soaps.
With these and many other measures being put in place by the Lagos State Government, one can only remain optimistic that any possible outbreak of COVID-19 will be closely checked and nipped in the bud. Our responsibility as citizens will be to maintain clean environment, imbibe the habit of regular hand washing with soap and water and equally ensure intake of fruits to boost immunity as the Government has put measures in place to check spread.
*Engr. Abiodun Taiwo (DBA)* writes from Ikeja, Lagos.