•The Intimate Story Of Dr. ABIMBOLA BOWALE
COVID-19 posing a stubborn drug-defying virus that has infected over 25 million people and claimed more than 850,000 lives throughout the world. Since its emergence in March, it is a cause for concern as it is on second round of infection especially in Europe and America.
Nigeria has also had her bitter share of the deadly disease. At least, not fewer than 210 deaths have been recorded in Lagos compared to bigger number in the Northern and other parts of the country. Why was the toll in Lagos not really huge and what was responsible for Lagos swift action to tackle the spread of the disease? This was because from the time of Ebola outbreak, Lagos State has been preparing at a ready for a outbreak of any endemic or pondemic such as the COVID-19. And all thanks to one man, who was at the fore front of preparation in anticipation of pandemic diseases, who made sure we had a minimum number of infected cases in Lagos. The mega-city is not only the first to record an infection, she was the first state to take up the challenge of COVID-19.
He is no other than Dr. Abimbola Bowale, the MD of Infectious Disease Hospital, located in Yaba where all major COVID-19 cases were being treated.
This MD has also has a fair share of diseases, He has practically suffered some of them. Not until there was COVID-19 outbreak, not many people know there is an Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Lagos State. It’s called Mainland Hospital and the IDH is a centre inside the Mainland Hospital.
As the pandemic rages rapidly spreading across the globe, Dr. Bowale was the man, who suggested an emergency training for frontline health workers to quickly build capacity to manage public health threats, increase Lagos state’s level of preparedness, to fight infection and protect her health workers and communities.
In April this year, when everyone was scared of the virus and those infected it was this man and his team that were all out attending to patients and ensuring Lagos remains safe. It was the same month that Dr. Bowale was infected with the deadly virus, COVID-19 to which he almost surrendered.
The Medical Director of the Mainland Hospital, where Nigeria’s Coronavirus index case was went into quarantine and was eventually treated.
His achievement is second to none and the minimum number of cases being experienced in Lagos is to the credit of this man who has greatly helped to curtail its spread. He was at the forefront combating COVID-19 thorough research for clinical solution, case management and outcome that brought relief to the first set of 32 COVID-19 patients in Nigeria. He is the lead health worker, who managed the first index case who came from China. He is the EPI centre of the infectious disease combat. No wonder, at the just concluded Arise Women Conference in Lagos, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, single-handed recognized Dr. Bowale’s achievements, praised him to high heavens and revealed that if there is anyone who has saved Lagos from COVID-19, It is no other person than Dr. Bowale.
In Prof Akin Abayomi’s words, “ They were able to go out there selflessly to out their lives on the line. And the reward and success are there for all to see. He is one of the people who put their lives on the line when everybody was scared to go out. He was at the forefront when covid was killing people in hundreds and thousands. He is one very important person in our midst, Dr. Bowale is the MD of Lagos State Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH). He is the no 1 expert on infectious disease in Lagos State. He is the nerve centre of Lagos State response to Covid-19. He is the chief expert of infectious disease in the government. He battled Ebola, survived that. He battled through COVID, got infected, and almost succumbed. We give thanks to God that this great man did not die. He had a terrible experience with Covid, but alive to tell the story. Dr. Bowale and other thousands of frontline workers are responsible for saving lives of many Lagosians. The infectious disease hospital does not look like anything of what it was 12 months ago, if you go there now, you will be awed at the transformation Mr. Governor did there. Now, it is almost like a tourism destination. It is a place comparable to any other in the world as a befitting standard of health delivery, infectious disease control and response preparedness”.
Infectious Disease Hospital is a purpose-built international infectious disease research centre at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba. The research centre, apart from enhancing the capacity of the infectious disease hospital, will also better the position of the state to respond to any outbreak of infectious disease in post COVID-19 era. This development is part of the global master plan for the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital.
Dr. Bowale got his medical degree (MbChB) from Ogun State University and then a Diploma in family medicine (National Postgraduate Medical College). He also got a master’s in Public Health (epidemiology) from the University of Lagos. He is the MD of Mainland Hospital. He has been involved in management and control of highly infectious diseases like COVID-19, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, LASSA Fever, Ebola Virus, Monkey Pox and many other diseases. He has published papers on TB, HIV, Ebola and COVID-19.
– TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI