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COVID-19: Lagos general hospitals in partial compliance with precautionary measures

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Hand washing facility at Isolo General Hospital

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, the campaign on the need for citizens to take precautionary measures against the ravaging pandemic has heightened. Both government and health workers have been playing critical roles by organising sensitisation programmes and treating patients, but are healthcare centres taking enough precautionary steps?

The Guardian’s visit to four Lagos general hospitals to check compliance with the much advertised precautionary measures against the scourge revealed quite a lot. At Isolo General Hospital, a gateman was taking the temperature of visitors and patients going into the hospital, though he was not meticulous about it, as not everybody was scrutinized to ensure compliance.

Some metres away were two hand-washing points. And though they were visible enough, visitors were not mandated to wash their hands before going into the hospital. So, many walked in without washing their hands. The gateman was unconcerned whether or not the person going in washed his or her hands.

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At the Outpatient section, social distancing was practised, though it was not extended to other sections. At the entrance of the section, the lady attending to patients had about four seats that were placed metres apart. But she was not wearing hand gloves at the time of visit, though there was hand sanitiser on her table, which she frequently used.

It was observed that most of those who drove into the hospital did not have their temperature checked; neither did they wash their hands. Furthermore, the soap provided at the hand-washing facility was too watery to be effective.

General Hospital Mushin, with the bucket taking used water almost filled up.

At the General Hospital in Mushin, though there was a hand-washing facility at the gate, the big bucket for collecting used water was almost filled to the brim at the time of visit. Many walked into the hospital without washing their hands, and they were not queried by the gateman.

It was also observed that social distancing was not practised, as patients and visitors sat close to one another, while the gateman had no instrument to take the temperature of those coming in. Only a few officials wore either nose masks or hand gloves.

At Randle General Hospital, Surulere, there were also no hand-washing facilities at the entrance; neither was patients’ and visitors’ temperature taken. Many officials had no hand gloves, with just a few wearing nose masks and no hand gloves. Social distancing was not observed, as patients and visitors sat close to one another.

At Gbagada General Hospital, the main entrance had no hand-washing facilities, neither was visitors’ temperature taken. There were two hand-washing points at the entrance to the receptionist’s office, though only one had soap. The hospital’s several entry points to the wards and sections had no hand-washing facility. For instance, the Renal and Dialysis Centre, Trauma and Burn Ward and Pediatric Ward could be accessed without going through the receptionist’s office, yet they had no hand-washing facilities.

A medical doctor, Dr. Akintayo Adebayo, said it should be compulsory for healthcare centres to provide hand-washing facilities. “Those not in compliance should be reported to appropriate authorities. Also, it should be emphasised that all facilities must develop and institute a robust infection prevention and control mechanism in compliance with safe-care standards,” he said.

Efforts to get the Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi were unsuccessful. He neither picked his calls nor responded to the message sent to his WhatsApp.

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