The Lagos State Government has revealed its plans to upgrade the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in a bid to meet the standard of handling Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and other hemorrhagic fevers in the future.
This plan was unveiled in Lagos recently, where the Lagos State Governor, BabatundeRajiFashola also reiterated that “the state is now Ebola-free, hence safe for business, conducive to live in and work for local and international visitors, with readiness of the state to tackle any emergency as it did in the case of Ebola outbreak.”
Fashola who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs AdejokeOrelope- Adefulire, said, “although Ebola was a test case for this part of the world which was effectively tackled, we are prepared to contain any emergency.”
While reassuring partners in the hospitality industry that the state is ready for business after the brief lull caused by the Ebola outbreak, the Lagos State Governor said “we will do whatever we can do to further assist in moving the hotel industry forward.”
On plans by the state to upgrade the IDH to meet standards in tackling hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola, Lassa, dengue fevers, among others, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr.JideIdris who was also in attendance explained that the state will upgrade the existing facility as well as increase isolation facility, diagnostic to bio-safety level 4 laboratory, to enable it handle any virology laboratory investigations to tackle existing haemorrhagic fevers presently ravaging the nation’s population.
“Training facilities will also be established and because the state has a number of survivors, it is looking into using serum from these survivors to treat Ebola patients. There will be a plasma unit that will be collecting serum from survivors, freeze them and use them for research to tackle not just Ebola but any other condition it can work for,” Idris said.
The Commissioner revealed that the Lagos State Government has the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bring a mobile laboratory that has facility to take the serum and this will be done temporarily until the upgrade of the IDH will be fully on ground.
“A research group from the United States (U.S), the ARM Research Group, is partnering Lagos State, because of the high number of survivors from the state. The future of medicine is going to genomics. Nigeria and Lagos State should not be left behind. At the end of the day, that is the future. So, we need to start now. What Lagos is trying to do now is research along that line,” he added.
Idris described the planned research facility as a Bio Bank, adding that it can take tissues, take serum, take plasma, can store them in a specific manner and determine whether to do genetic studies. “It is a way of solving medical and clinical problems along that line,” Idris explained.
In line with establishing research group, the commissioner said the upgraded IDH will be divided into various zones – highly infectious, incinerators, sewage treatment, among others.
According to him, it is necessary to sensitise Nigerians and the research community on this initiatives and further urged anyone including organisations that are interested in funding research to key into the projects in order to build the states capability to handle emergencies locally as well as create the expertise.