Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Lagos early this year, City People has been after the Lagos State Health Commissiner, Prof. Akin Abayomi for an intervieww. We were eager to get him to talk to us exclusively about this dreaded virus which has become a pandemic globally. But it was difficult getting this handsome, tall & slim doctor who is rated highly in medical circles, to talk.
Understandably so. He is at the centre of the battle to curtail the spread of the pandemic. On a day to day basis, he was always meeting with his boss, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the incident commander for Lagos and other exco members, to brainstorm on the new to use a co-ordinated approach to tackle the problem. He was also part of the daily briefing, all of which put a lot of pressure on him. But he has coped very well, perhaps because of his wealth of experience in medical practice.
Lagos has been lucky to have a competent man like him as Health Commissioner because he is not only a brilliant doctor, he has served in various capacities round the world, gathering experience, all of which he put to bear on the fight against COVID-19. All our efforts to get him to talk proved abortive until recently when we renewed our request and he agreed to talk to us a few days ago about COVID-19 and the efforts made so far by the LASG.
Recently, we got Prof. to talk to us. We found him to be a man of simple taste who is desirous of finding a quick & lasting end to COVID-19. He was cool & calm in his analysis of events. He was brutally frank also where needed. He gave both a theoretical & practical explanation of the pandemic and he showed a great & deep understanding of the issues. He is also very accommodating of all the suggestions made over time to him on the possible solutions.
Prof. told City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE what we all need to know about COVID-19. Read on.
At what stage are we now in our fight against COVID-19 pandemic?
In an outbreak, you will usually have the Upstroke, you have the Plateau and then you have the Down Stroke. These are the 3 phases. But there are 2 more phases. There is the predictive phase and there is the Post Outbreak phase which is where you assess what you’ve done and you make corrective measures, for the next event.
So, we went with the same thing with EBOLA. We went through the Upstroke, the Plateau and the Downstroke of course, we didn’t have much of a preparatory phase for Ebola because we never thought we would experience anything like this. We never thought we would experience anything like Ebola. But after EBOLA we went through the Post Outbreak Evaluation and Review. And we identified all our gaps, and we identified that if we should experience anything like this again, in the futue, it could be a disaster if we didn’t put certain things in place. So, for COVID-19 we had the Preparatory Phase and then we had the Outbreak, and then we had the Upstroke, the Plateau and the Downstroke. So right now, we are still on the Upstroke and we believe hopefully that very soon, we would reach our Plateau. The Plateau is where the Virus and the Community are reaching an Equilibrium. And there isn’t an increasing number of people infected on a daily basis. Right now, we still feel that we are having and seeing an increasing numbers on a daily basis. When that number balances out, then we can say we are in the Plateau and then eventually we would start seeing a reduced number of people infected on a daily basis because the virus is running out of vulnerable people in the population, that is people who don’t have immunity.
How do you get Immunity?
You can only get Immunity one of 2 ways. Either you are vaccinated or you get the injection and you are recovered. That is where we are right now. We are still approaching the Plateau Phase.
How about the facilities that you have, are they appropriate? Are they enough to be able to tackle the cases that you see?
We have built enough isolation facilities and at the moment our isolation facilities are not full. We have gone over and above what we feel that is required. I can show you some pictures on my phone to show you that these out facilities are not full at all. (Opens his phone) As you can see, this chart represents the occupancy of all our isolation facilities in Lagos. We are currently at 34 percent occupancy and we have 2 more to activate. You can see this yourself. The blue that you see is Occupancy. So, we have a lot of excess capacity.
But we are moving more and more to Home-based care. That is what we are doing now. This is probably why many people say we are not admitting any longer. No. The phase we are in now is Home based care. At the beginning of the outbreak, we were admitting most people. But now, we have realised that you don’t have to admit everybody. And we are reserving our isolation facilities for people that need closer medical mornitoring. And the A-Symptomatics to mild, which makes up majority of cases in this environment, we are trying to manage them at home.
How do you define the patients that come down with COVID-19?
Well, there is a clinical case definition. So, we have A-Symptomatic, Mild, Moderate & Severe. A-Symptomatic means you have it but you don’t feel anything. Mild, maybe you just have a bit of a headache, or just feel a bit tired. You might have a little bit of fever. Moderate is that you are progressively feeling unwell.
You are weak. You have Fever. You may have a cough, or Headache or both, loss of Appetite, loss of smell or taste.
And then Severe is when it starts to affect your organs. So, you can’t breathe properly, you can’t walk properly. Your kidneys may be affected You may have a Cerebro vascular accident, like Stroke or Loss of Nerve function. So, that will be Severe. So anything from Moderate to Severe is what we want to monitor in our Isolation centres and Hospitals.
So, these days, you see more of which category of patients?
These days we see more of A symptomatic to Mild. That is 70%. Then, Moderate to Severe is 30%. nLI���