. . . Governor rolls out medical infrastructure upgrade
Lagos State Government is overhauling infrastructure across all levels of its healthcare delivery system, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said.
The Commissioner, who spoke at the ongoing inter-ministerial press briefing organised to mark the second year anniversary of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in office, said the upgrade of infrastructure began last year, following the approval of the plan by the Executive Council.
At the event held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Abayomi gave an account of stewardship of the Ministry’s activities in the last two years.
He explained that the infrastructure roadmap was being executed by the ministry’s Medical Project Implementation Unit (MPIU) in phases, revamping facilities across primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare sectors. He said the overhaul was part of a strategy to build a resilient healthcare in Lagos and increase residents’ access to quality universal health coverage.
Abayomi said the effort would bring about fit-for-purpose healthcare facilities that would raise the government’s capacity to respond to contemporary and future health challenges. The renewal is being carried out in short, medium- and long-term bases, he said.
Part of the new features to be seen, the Commissioner said, will include improved efficiency for physical maintenance, ease of movement, low carbon footprint, low energy consumption, infection prevention and control as well as staff and patient comfort.
He said: “In last one year, we have embarked on phased but comprehensive revamping of our secondary health facilities as part of our medical infrastructure upgrade roadmap, which is aimed at raising access to quality and bring about efficiently run health facilities. This effort commenced in the previous year and it is expected to address issues of design errors, drainage, patient flow, staff flow, water collection, infection prevention, energy and ventilation.
“We have renovated and remodelled the Mainland Hospital in Yaba with future plans of making it an Institute of Research for Infectious Disease. We have also completed the remodelling and upgrading of Apapa General Hospital, just as we are renovating Harvey Road Health Centre, Ebute-Metta Health Centre, Isolo General Hospital and the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos. All of these are in the effort to make health accessible.”
According to the Commissioner, the Sanwo-Olu administration has completed, equipped and handed over two multi-level Maternal and Childcare Centres (MCC) in Eti-Osa and Badagry. The construction of a 110-bed MCC, he said, has been completed in Epe and is due for commissioning in the coming weeks.
Abayomi noted that the upgrade was being done in a sustainable way, which would take another decade for major repairs to be done, except statutory maintenance by the hospital management and the Lagos State Asset Maintenance Agency (LASIAMA).
He said the Executive Council had also approved the construction of new hospitals to bridge gaps in access and services in the health sector. This, he said, is in tandem with the determination of the Sanwo-Olu administration to achieve the goals set in the Health and Environment pillar of its T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
He said: “In fulfilment of our medical infrastructure blueprint agenda, we have commenced the construction of a 280-bed General Hospital in Ojo and the 150-bed New Massey Street Children’s Hospital. The Governor also approved the construction and equipping of 1,500-bed Psychiatric Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre at Majidun in Ketu-Ejinrin.
“In the course of the year, we have completed the construction of a four-storey Faculty of Basic Medical and Clinical Sciences Office Block at Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) and plans have been concluded for renovation and upgrade of some facilities at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in tandem with our medical infrastructure blueprint strategy for the tertiary health facilities.
“In partnership with the private sector, we have completed and handed over oxygen plants at Mainland and Gbagada General Hospitals. We have delivered Triage and Oxygen Centres in 10 locations across Lagos. In raising staff welfare, we have started the construction of a 24-unit Doctors’ and Staff Quarters at Gbagada General Hospital.”
Abayomi also disclosed that work had begun on the blueprint designs for Comprehensive Health Center, Primary Health Center and Health Posts as part of the move to rejig their operations and service delivery. This, he said, will help in adding significant bed capacity to Lagos State’s healthcare infrastructure.
While noting that the promotion and protection of the health of residents of Lagos State has a positive impact on social development and quality of life of citizens, Abayomi disclosed that the government embarked on the greenfield medical infrastructure projects to prevent issues noticed in health infrastructure across all levels of care. He added that all issues in medical health infrastructure will disappear when the medical infrastructure blueprint strategy is fully implemented.
“The continuous improvement in quality of health service in the State is a core mandate of our administration and we are uniquely positioned to utilize available resources to actualize this goal. With the ongoing refurbishment and roll out of new infrastructure blueprint, the medical infrastructure landscape of the State would look completely different, giving us a step closer to achieving universal health coverage,” he stated.
The Commissioner averred the medical infrastructure blueprint agenda would address the issue of brain drain, medical travels and patient welfare. The government, through the strategy, hopes to attract medical tourism to the State, he added.
“The prototype of the new, remodelled and upgraded healthcare infrastructure in the State will conform with key elements of global standards health facility designs, which include Natural Light/Ventilation, Sustainable Energy, Patient Flow, Infection Prevention, Noise Prevention, Flood Prevention, Identifiable standout visual features as well as scalability and modular design for expansion,” Abayomi stated.
The second wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), which spread more rapidly across Lagos State than the first wave, would have been devastating in Nigeria, but for efforts deployed by the government, the Commissioner said. He said the response strategy put in place by Governor Sanwo-Olu efficiently curtailed the pandemic and limited fatalities.
The Commissioner said the effectiveness of the State’s response strategy saved the country from negative impacts associated with the pandemic’s second wave as seen in other countries. He added that EKO TELEMED – a tech-driven platform through which the State Government managed the spread of the virus – yielded efficient results in breaking the cycle of community infection.
The Commissioner said there was an ongoing effort by the State Government to prevent a third wave of the pandemic, noting that Lagos has started the deployment of EKO TELEMED in the management of in-bound international travellers from high burdened countries. The tech-driven platform, Abayomi said, would be used to monitor movement and treat infected travellers.
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The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), has warned security agencies against extra-judicial killing and harassment of innocent Nigerians in the course of fishing out those responsible for the killings of security personnel and attacks on security formations and those fuelling insecurity in the South- East and South-South.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday during deliberations of the Security Council meeting approved undisclosed new security measures for the two regions aftermath of multiple attacks on security formations.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled ‘The Growing Tempest in East & South’ said it is important “that the security services do not engage in presumption group-blame, collective punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the course of investigating these crimes”.
Owoaje pointed out that such “unbridled illegalities and high-handedness will only go to further alienate local communities, and deepen the antipathy that already characterizes the relationship between them and law enforcement agencies.”
The association while strongly condemning the attacks and killing of security personnel condoled with families that lost loved ones and urged the government to do all within the confines of the law to get the perpetrators and make them face the fall wrath of the law.
According to him, NAS is disturbed that the insecurity in the two regions has further exacerbated the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Owoaje called on the government to move swiftly, and with unaccustomed competence and diligence, to arrest the current climate of insecurity across the two regions.
The statement read in part “This gradual slide into anarchy in the South-East and South-South regions has the potential to expand the number of ungoverned spaces in Nigeria, further, stretch our security apparatus, and engender devastating social and economic consequences for the country as a whole.
“We urge the security agencies in the two regions to resist the temptation of seeing themselves as a force of occupation out to subjugate the people and unleash terror among the teeming law-abiding citizens. They should approach their task with a sincerity of purpose, and rein in the criminal elements intent on foisting terror and bloodletting. Evidence abounds of previous overzealous interventions by security agencies that have aggravated insecurity in the two regions rather than contain the same. Unprofessional conduct and prejudice from those entrusted with such operations must not be tolerated.
“The government and security agencies have a constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the peace-loving residents of the two regions from harm. No innocent Nigerian should be harassed, intimidated, or made to suffer under any guise of combing for suspected criminal elements in the South-East and South-South regions.”
As part of efforts to develop manpower that can address future challenges in Nigeria, the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSBL) has established a science-based educational quiz competition that would aid young inventors towards achieving their goals of producing technologies that could proffer solution to human needs across the country.
The science-based quiz competition, LSBL said, is Eko S.T.E.M Quiz, would prepare the students for science and technology and bridge the invention gap between Nigeria particularly in Lagos and other major cities globally.
According to the lotteries board, the EKO STEM competition was designed for the public and low-cost private secondary school students in Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 to boost their passion for science and technology.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the lotteries board, Bashir Are, while addressing pressmen yesterday in Ikeja, added that the aim was to further sustain the ongoing development in the education sector embarked upon by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to take education to next level in Lagos.
Are noted that the intervention was part of the board’s functions, saying, we are allowed by section 33 of Lagos State Lotteries Board (amended) law of 2008 to give some interventions in Education, infrastructure, environment, social, and health in the state.
He added that the intervention in education development would ensure that the state has a skilled workforce that could address its challenges in science and technology which had continued to alter previous workforce arrangements globally.
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Lotteries, Olufunmilola Olotu, stressed that to prepare the students for the future, “it is important to proactively promote the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum”.
Olotu stated that quiz competition is a form of education, just as she described education as a process of acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Olotu explained that this competition would provide the ground for the state government to achieve its goal in technology, preparing the mind of the students for the future, adding, the contents could be re-used for teaching.
The senior special assistant explained that the competition was essential for the children and that it would not only educate but also entertain the students in the country particularly Lagos.
She argued that the EKO STEM quiz competition would afford the students an opportunity to choose their career path and understand importance of teamwork.
Olotu, who emphasized that the year-long competition would be broadcast on Television for viewers that would watch from home, hinted that the ultimate prize for winners is a Scholarship award to study anywhere globally and a visit to the Silicon Valley.
“lt is our belief that in any educational system, academic competition is of utmost importance because it contributes to a child’s development and learning process. A healthy competition among academic institutions nurtures various values and opportunities, including but not limited to prestige, media exposure, monetary donations, and research grants,” she added.
Explaining modalities for the competition that is set to provide a platform for over 1,500 students to achieve their dream, the governor’s aide explained that preliminary examination would hold May 15th for both public and private schools across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
According to her, all results will be collated and input into the online system, and with the system cut-off mark, those that had better scores will proceed to the Computer-Based examination stage and other stages.
… 21 Schemes In The Works, Says Commissioner
By the end of 2023, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would have delivered 35 housing schemes to close the huge deficit in the sector, Commissioner for Housing Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai has said on Tuesday.
Of the schemes, 14 have been delivered within the first two years of the Sanwo-Olu administration, adding over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market.
Akinderu-Fatai spoke on the achievements of the Ministry of Housing during the ongoing inter-ministerial briefing to commemorate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s second year in office.
He said the Government was committed to reducing the housing deficit and providing affordable homes for the greater number of residents, stressing that the Sanwo-Olu administration would be delivering 21 housing schemes before the end of 2023.
The Commissioner was optimistic that the administration would realise its mass housing programmes, despite the prevailing economic situation in the country, adding that policies initiated had enhanced access for low- and high-income families.
He said: “The last two years have been eventful in the Ministry of Housing, as we have strengthened our efforts to realise the housing programmes of the current administration. We have completed and delivered various schemes across Lagos, including Lateef Jakande Gardens in Igando, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme in Idale Badagry, LagosHOMS Lekki Phase 2 and Babatunde Raji Fashola Estate, Courtland Villas, Igbokushu, among others.
“We have four housing schemes recently completed and are due for commissioning in the coming days. They are located in Odo Onosa Ayandelu, Agbowa, Magodo/Omole, Gbagada and Ibeshe. In all, a total of 14 schemes have been completed and these added over 7,000 affordable housing units to the market. We have other ongoing housing projects, totalling 21 schemes, which are being developed through budgetary allocation and joint ventures.”
Speaking on affordability and accessibility of the schemes, Akinderu-Fatai said the homes are for both low and high net worth individuals in highbrow and low-income settlements, including Igando, Igbokusu, Lekki, Badagry, Igbogbo, Odo-Onosa/Ayandelu, Agbowa, Sangotedo, Epe, Ilubirin, Epe and Egan-Igando.
On the strategies to tackle the housing deficit, Akinderu-Fatai hinted that the State Government was partnering multinational development partners for the construction of mass housing estates. He said henceforth, housing provision would be in the realm of thousands of homes to drastically reduce the burden.
The Commissioner praised Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and passion at ensuring that greater number of residents achieve their dream of becoming homeowners, adding that the State Government needed the support of all stakeholders towards providing decent and stable shelter for residents.
He said: “The task of bridging the housing gap in Lagos is demanding and we are extending our willingness to private sector participants to come in and invest in the housing sector to reduce the hardship faced by the people in their quest for decent shelter.”
Akinderu-Fatai said that the Lagos Mortgage Board had strengthened the “Rent-to-Own” policy, putting many residents on the homeownership ladder. He pointed out that the scheme targeted first-time homeowners, saying: “It has given a good opportunity to both to the low and middle-income citizens to become home owners.”
In the housing development projects, the Commissioner said the State Government had boosted the local economy by hundreds of local workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors for the scheme.
“There are intense construction activities on many housing schemes all over the State revitalising the housing delivery value chain. The fact that the construction sites are active means economic engagement for hundreds of workers, artisans, suppliers and contractors. This brings vibrancy that increases the economic resilience of our people,” Akinderu-Fatai said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mrs. Toke Awoyinka-Benson, said the Government made efforts to make Lagos an investor-friendly State, given its housing development laws, and establishment of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
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