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COVID-19: Lagos Reactivates Restrictions, Use of Face Masks

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Lagos Reactivates Restrictions

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos State government has reactivated restrictions in order to avert a possible third wave of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Governor of the state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said this has become necessary following a sharp increase in the number of positive cases of the virus recorded in the last few weeks.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Mr Sanwo-Olu blamed in-bound travellers for the rising cases of COVID-19, noting that they have been defaulting isolation protocols and that henceforth, anyone caught would face prosecution, sanctions and imprisonment.

According to him, in the last one week, the state’s daily cases of COVID-19 confirmation has shot up to 6.6 per cent, lamenting that it is due to the careless attitude of air passengers from countries in the “high risk” zones and the complacency by the residents to follow the protective protocols issued by the Government after the end of the second wave.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that 18 per cent of 50,322 air passengers of interest, who arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) could not be reached for COVID-19 status monitoring by EKOTELEMED because they supplied wrong contact details.

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Going forward, the Governor ordered sanctioning of in-bound air passengers that failed to provide verifiable contact details, including accessible phone numbers they can be reached for monitoring.

He said air passengers would face prosecution, including fines and imprisonment in line with the Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021.

“In spite of our hard work and dedicated efforts towards sustaining the return to normalcy, over the last three months, after the flattened the curve of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, we are now finding ourselves at what appears to be the start of a potential third wave of the pandemic in Lagos State. From the beginning of July, we started to experience a steep increase in the number of daily confirmed cases.

“The rapid increase within a week gives great cause for concern. Also, within the last two weeks, the occupancy rate at our isolation centres increased to an average of six per cent.

“This is the disturbing reality that now confronts us. As directed by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation.

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“We have successfully isolated 2,386 passengers in Lagos. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded. Sanctions are being recommended and have already been meted out to defaulters.

“Revocation of Permanent Residency and deportation are being meted out to foreign nationals defaulting the protocols. For Nigerians, there will be prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law of 2021,” he said.

The situation at hand, Mr Sanwo-Olu said, required reactivation of full compliance with all protective protocols already outlined by the state government.

The Governor said there should be compulsory use of masks in all public places, while also directing social distancing, compulsory temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitisers, and a maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in enclosed spaces.

He urged worship centres to be particularly vigilant, advising them not to be carried away by the illusion that all activities were back to normal.

“It is understandable that many are tired and want their old, pre-pandemic lives to return. Unfortunately, we do not have a choice in this regard, and fatigue is not an option. We cannot afford to be tired, frustrated or distracted. Without the cooperation of the public at large, we stand the risks of losing both lives and livelihood, on a devastating scale.

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“The enemy (COVID-19) is formidable and opportunistic. The pandemic will only go as far as we allow it. Having triumphed over the first and second waves, we must now find within ourselves new reserves of energy to quell this emerging third wave before it snowballs out of control,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.

The Governor decried the low vaccination rate in the State, pointing out that only a fraction of the populace received the recommended doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine being rolled out to achieve herd immunity.

This, he said, is not adequate, adding that the State Government was exploring all avenues possible to ramp up access to vaccines to reach the immunity target of 60 per cent coverage.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said Lagos would continue to work with all partners across the Government and private institutions to ensure permanent isolation of the virus.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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GE Healthcare Donates VScan Ultrasound Equipment to AMCH

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AMCH VScan Ultrasound Equipment

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Seven modern mobile ultrasound systems have been donated by GE Healthcare West Africa to the Abiye Maternal and Child (AMCH) International Foundation.

AMCH is a non-governmental organisation that aims to provide up-to-date evidence-based life-saving knowledge and skill to frontline health workers in communities across Nigeria. Its mission is to help contribute to health system strengthening and quality improvement for maternal and newborn care.

The items were given to the organisation at its office in Maryland, Lagos to help increase access to quality maternal and child medical services especially in rural areas in the state.

At the presentation, the founder of AMCH, Prof. Elizabeth Disu, expressed her gratitude to GE West Africa for donating the medical equipment to the group and promised that it would be used to improve medical services rendered to pregnant women especially in the rural areas in Lagos State and Nigeria in general.

She said AMCH had collaborated with other partners to execute several training programs such as Essential Care for the Newborn which comprises Helping Babies Breathe, Essential Newborn Care, Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies, Newborn Resuscitation Training (NRT), to mention a few.

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According to the AMCH founder, the organization recently partnered with Rotary Club International, California, USA to train health workers in Epe and Ibeju-Lekki communities in Lagos State on Essential Newborn Care Course (ENCC). The ultrasound system donated by GE would enable them to add obstetric care trainings in these rural communities.

In her remarks, the patron of AMCH, Mrs Aba Sagoe, said, “We appreciate this and we believe this will improve quality of care. We assure you that you are going to see positive results very soon. Thank you, GE.” she added.

The representative of the Federal Ministry of Health Head of Newborn, Family Health Department, Dr John Ovuoraye, in his address, commended GE for their contributions to the development of the health sector in Nigeria and for donating the equipment to AMCH, a reputable NGO whose commitment to maternal and child health is widely recognised.

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“On behalf of Federal Ministry of Health, I wish to thank GE for the company’s commitment to improving access to medical services in various communities in Nigeria.

“We have had collaborative trainings with AMCH and its founder, Prof. Elizabeth Disu, a pillar and a worthy person in the health sector, especially on maternal and childcare services.

“The equipment that I am seeing here will help in no small measure to improve quality services to pregnant women in Nigeria.

“The machine is technologically driven, simple, handy and mobile. It works amazingly well with a soft touch, gives accurate analysis, and has durable battery life. Once again, I want to thank GE for this donation,” he said.

Prof. Adeniyi Adewumi, the director of training at AMCH and a consultant at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja opined that the ultrasound equipment would help monitor the number of babies a pregnant woman is carrying, baby’s position and growth of pregnancy amongst many other factors associated with improved quality care.

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In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Lagos State, Dr Ibrahim Mustafa, also expressed gratitude to the donor and said that ultrasound equipment would help achieve focus on antenatal with its special features for obstetrics examination and quantification and could not have come at a better time than this.

The GE team was led by Mr Abdulrahman Alabi, Manager, Ultra Sound, GE West Africa, accompanied by Mr Gospel Johnson, Clinical Application Specialist, GE West Africa, and Mrs Modupe Shittu, Lead, Life Care Solution Business, West Africa.

Mr Alabi said, GE did background research on NGOs and found AMCH worthy to receive the donation of ultrasound equipment to help improve quality services in maternal and child care access of many pregnant women in Nigeria.

Other dignitaries present at the acceptance ceremony were Mrs Ekhaiyeme Taiwo, Clinical Volunteer (AMCH), Retired Chief Matron Mrs Oluwatoyin Odukoya, and Miss Funmilola Oremakinde, an administrative officer with AMCH.

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Monkeypox: NCDC Urges Nigerians Not to Panic

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Monkeypox

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called on Nigerians to be alert but should not panic as the country registered 59 suspected cases of Monkeypox with 15 confirmed.

This call was made by its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The NCDC chief was reacting to the Dallas, Texas resident from the United States who recently returned from Nigeria and tested positive for the disease.

It was reported that it was the first confirmed case of the virus in the US since 2003, with health officials saying that the public should not be concerned.

Laboratory tests confirmed that the patient was infected with a strain of the virus mainly seen in West Africa, which included Nigeria.

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“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public,” Dallas County Judge, Mr Clay Jenkins, said in a statement by Dallas County’s health department.

With passengers wearing masks on the flight and in the airport, the health department said that the risk of spreading monkeypox via respiratory droplets to others on the planes and in the airports was low.

Dr Ihekweazu said that just as the agency responded to other epidemic-prone diseases in the country, an outbreak would be declared when there was a large cluster of monkeypox cases that constituted an emergency.

“The federal government was notified of the situation in Texas through the International Health Regulations (IHR), which reported a case of monkeypox disease diagnosed in a patient who had recently visited Nigeria.

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“Since the re-emergence of monkeypox in the country in September 2017, the agency has continued to receive reports and responses to sporadic cases of the disease from states across the country.

“We have been working closely with state health ministries to strengthen monkeypox disease surveillance and response in the country.

“We work with Enhanced Monkeypox Surveillance Project where we have been training health workers across states to rapidly detect and manage cases.

“Our initial focus is on the states with the highest number of cases – Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Lagos.

“We will continue working with all states to strengthen monkeypox prevention, detection and control in Nigeria,” he said.

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He urged Nigerians to continue adhering to precautions that protected them from monkeypox and other infectious diseases.

“If you feel ill or have a sudden rash, please visit a hospital for diagnosis and management,” he advised.

Monkeypox, which is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, is a rare but potentially deadly viral infection that begins with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash on the face and body.

It tends to last two to four weeks. People who do not have symptoms are not capable of transmitting the virus.

Monkeypox infections of that strain are fatal in about one in 100 people, affecting those with weakened immune systems more strongly.

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Health

CribMD Acquires Charisland for Better Drug Deliveries

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CribMD

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian health-tech startup, CribMD, has announced the acquisition of Charisland Pharmaceuticals Group to ensure fast and efficient one-hour drug deliveries to its patients across Nigeria.

The acquisition comes on the heels of CribMD’s $2.6 million seed round in May 2021, which the startup says was oversubscribed.

According to CribMD’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ifeanyi Ossai, users would not need to wait two days for the delivery of their medications. Now, it can be sent to their homes, offices, or hotels in as little as one hour.

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Speaking on the choice of Charisland Pharmaceuticals Group, Mr Ossai revealed that the group’s commitment to excellence was a decisive factor.

“They are a well-respected brand in the country and have served the communities where they operate with excellence, and we are glad to pick up the next part of the race,” he said.

Charisland Pharmaceuticals Group was founded nine years ago and has a presence in major Nigerian cities but is exiting the Nigerian market to expand into Canada.

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CribMD’s acquisition of the pharmaceutical chain, as opposed to building a solution in-house, will see it leverage the company’s vast network of pharmacies to deliver drugs faster to their subscribers.

As part of the sale, the startup would be assimilating Charisland Pharmaceuticals Group’s staff and hiring more to build out its operations.

Before the acquisition, CribMD dispensed drugs from pharmacies that they own. However, with the acquisition of Charisland, the startup is set to bank on the group’s wide network of pharmacies to serve subscribers.

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Founded in June 2020 by Messrs Ossai, Ngiri Michael, and Lorna Mae Johnson, CribMD allows patients — with a subscription plan ranging between $7 and $50 monthly — to request doctors for house calls or consultation via telemedicine.

With a presence in every Nigerian state, CribMD also offers insurance services for individuals and corporations. The company disclosed that it plans to embark on some other series of acquisitions.

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