By Abolade Adewale
The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital has been leading the support for the Lagos State Government in containing the dreaded Coronavirus Pandemic that is ravaging the world. Incidentally, the index case broke out in the state and the only state-owned tertiary health institution had risen up to the occasion by contributing his quota in both human and intellectual resources to quelling the devastating effect of COVID-19.
The preparedness of the hospital in managing the situation began when the disease started migrating across various countries of the world. The Chief Incident Officer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu alongside the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi and others drafted the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Professor Adetokunbo O. Fabamwo and the Director of Clinical Services and Training (DCST), Dr Ibrahim Mustafa as active members of the Yaba COVID-19 ICU Committee. This led to the secondment of other senior medical personnel to various Isolation Centres across the state. Some of those immediately deployed include four Consultant Anaesthetists, six Critical Care Nurses.
The state also constituted a COVID-19 Research Team, which also include five LASUTH Specialists namely- Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant Community Health and Primary Care, Dr Lolade Wright; Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant Community Health and Primary Care, Dr. Yetunde Kuyinu; Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Microbiologist, Dr Bamidele Mutiu who is also the lead manager of the Biosecurity Laboratory in Yaba; Professor and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Prof Bolanle Ola and a Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Clinical Pharmacologist, Dr. Yinka Ogunleye. All of these Doctors have been deliberating on how to resolve the health challenge at hand. While the LASUTH Ethical Committee has been reviewing and giving approvals to the proposed research studies from the research team.
Asides this, the hospital also inaugurated the LASUTH Research Committee headed by Professor and Honorary Consultant Neurosurgery, Professor Femi Idowu. At the moment, the team has developed about six COVID-19 related proposals. The hospital is poised to carry out these studies as external and internal funding is already being sought from International donor organizations and the state government.
The daily administration of the Isolation Centres are still dependent on capable workforce, these are three Community Health residents namely Dr. Gbolahan Diya, Dr. Olugbenga Jeje and Dr. Owolabi. They are currently serving in three different isolation centres in the state while the Head of the Disease Surveillance Unit at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is a LASUTH Consultant and Dr. Bisola Adebayo is a Community Health and Primary Care Specialist.
As we all know that the pandemic was “imported” into the country, the hospital had three doctors deployed to the airport to assist in the screening of incoming passengers before the closure of the borders, namely Drs Olufunsho Akinyemi, Temitope Durojaiye and Adewale Adebanjo. They worked there for about six weeks before they were redeployed for community active case search and testing duties while Dr. Angela Emechebe, Dr Opeyemi Ogundimu and Dr. Kayode Adeleke are currently permanently based in Yaba for contact tracing and case investigation duties.
The work is not limited to the efforts outside the hospital alone, within the premises of LASUTH, a 16-bedded holding ward for suspected COVID-19 related cases was set up to manage patients pending the release of their test results. The ward is manned by doctors, nurses and attendants to whom the hospital is currently paying generous motivational incentive packages. Similarly, a Philanthropist is also putting up another 30-bed holding bay within the premises, when completed, the hospital will be able to isolate a lot more suspected cases.
Having said this, the only thing LASUTH does not have the facility for handling is treating confirmed covid positive patients because its architectural design is that of a Cottage hospital. If the hospital will want to treat COVID-19, it will be necessary to collapse one or two wards which will also have the undesired attendant effect of shrinking admission capacity. However, the hospital will continue to be able to treat complications from COVID-19 ranging from dialysis for renal failure to critical care.
It has become more obvious that the role of LASUTH, as a tertiary health Institution in the state, cannot be underestimated in the fight against COVID-19. The hospital has risen up to the occasion of combatting the pandemic and has played an active role in all the ramifications of state covid related activities. Everyone in LASUTH is poised to deploy the best of their expertise to support the efforts of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in making the healthcare delivery system of the state top-notch before, during and after COVID-19.
Abolade Adewwale is a Public Affairs Commentator in Lagos, Nigeria. HE can be reached via email@example.com