The Lagos state government, in collaboration with Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) Health Trust, recently trained health workers in public secondary facilities on the management of deadly viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) with a view to increasing their capacity to identify and promptly manage patients during an outbreak of infectious diseases.
Speaking at the training, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, noted that Lagos, with rapid urbanization and a population of over 22 million people, stands at high risk of an outbreak of infectious diseases.
“These diseases are mostly deadly viral haemorrhagic fevers which include, Ebola, Lassa fever, Yellow fever, and Dengue. These deadly viruses cause sporadic outbreaks all over the country and the goal of the training is to build capacity in identifying and containing them in a mega city like ours” he said.
Idris, who was represented by the Director, Disease Control, in the Ministry of Health, Dr Eniola Erinosho, stated that medical directors of General Hospitals have been mandated to designate a ward as an Isolation Unit to quarantine suspected cases, stressing that this was done to increase the level of preparedness in the management VHF.
“The Ministry of Health in collaboration with DRASA Health Trust through this training seeks to increase the State’s level of outbreak preparedness, build the capacity of health workers to identify, diagnose and manage cases without jeopardizing their safety and that of residents”, Idris stressed.
The Commissioner added that State Government as part of efforts to enhance emergency preparedness has put in place an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Response, Disease Surveillance, Notification and Response structures in all the 20 local government areas of the State, and the Infectious Disease Control Hospital – Mainland Hospital Yaba.
He also stated that other emergency facilities available in the State include Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS), Lagos State Emergency Medical Services (LASEMS), State Environmental Health Monitoring Units (SEHMU), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and Lagos State Waste Management Authority.
Idris noted that enactment of Lagos State Public Health Law and the Lagos State Coronary Law supports emergency preparedness and response, adding that there is an Emergency Call Centre in the State which responds to emergency calls on dedicated lines: 767 and 211.
While commending DRASA Health Trust for collaborating with the Ministry of Health to train health workers on the management of emerging infectious diseases, the Commissioner assured the organization of the State government’s commitment and support in establishing a Simulation Training Centre on Emergency Preparedness and Response for Emerging Infectious Disease at the Lagos Mainland Hospital, Yaba.
Earlier, the Managing Director of DRASA Health Trust, Ms. Niniola Soleye explained that the training covers multiple topics including identification and triage of suspected VHF patients, application of standard precautions, and usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) before and after dealing with a suspected case.
“This is not a typical lecture or presentation type of training. We are using simulation and scenarios to make it hands-on and to ensure that the doctors and nurses we are training actually go through the process. So that when they are faced with a real live infectious patient as Dr. Adadevoh was with the first Ebola patient in 2014, they will know what to do. That is our goal” she said.
DRASA Health Trust was established in memory of Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the doctor who correctly diagnosed and contained the first case of Ebola in Nigeria. No fewer than 50 Health workers from various general hospitals and primary health care centres in the State were in attendance.