Why St Nicholas, St Edwards and four other Lagos Hospitals are suspending operations

Some private hospitals in Lagos have suspended operations at their medical facilities due to exposure to COVID-19. They include St Nicholas Hospital; St. Edwards Hospital, Ajah; Premier Specialist Hospital, Victoria Island; Vedic Lifecare Hospital, Lekki; County Hospital, Ogba; and First Cardiology Consultants Hospital, Ikoyi.

The Lagos state government, on Monday, decontaminated the hospitals and shut them for two weeks.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, had revealed that former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, died of COVID-19 at First Cardiology Consultants, in Ikoyi, one of the hospitals shut by the government.

One of the oldest private hospitals in Lagos, St Nicholas (founded 1968), in a statement signed by its Clinical Director, Ebun Bamgboye, said it is shutting down operation at its Lagos Island branch for two weeks because the branch was exposed to the disease.

"The safety of all our staff and patients is of paramount importance to us. As such, we are complying with the directive of the HEFAMAA (Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency) to suspend our services for 2 weeks (Saturday 18th April 2020 — Saturday 2′ May 2020). We understand the critical needs of our patients, hence we have introduced our telemedicine services where patients can consult our doctors via video and audio channels by calling," the statement read.

Vevic Lifecare Hospital in Lekki, in a statement, also announced that the management suspended operations for approximately ten days.

It said the decision became necessary after a COVID-19 patient was inadvertently admitted at the facility and two hospital staff members contracted the deadly virus.

The staff and family members who visited the hospitals or had been in contact with anyone who visited any of the six hospitals were advised to self-isolate and call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

With 665 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria as at Monday April 20. No private hospital in the country has been given approval to manage COVID-19 patients.

Although the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, announced recently that the ministry was working with relevant institutions to expedite the process of assessing and providing accreditation for private hospitals with relevant capacity to manage COVID-19 cases, the Health Minister, Dr Ehanire Osagie, said on Friday, at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, that none had been accredited so far.

Ehanire said, "There is none (private hospital) that I know that has been accredited. If you as a private hospital want to run a treatment centre for coronavirus, you have to show first of all that you have the staff; a doctor who must be an infectious disease specialist and nurses and even cleaners who are trained in infection prevention protocol.

"The operations are different from what obtains in other hospitals. While this is not prohibited, there is no private hospital that has met those criteria at the moment."

The Minister threatened that government would not hesitate to shut down private hospitals caught secretly treating COVID-19 patients.

The Lagos State Government also warned that private hospitals across the state are not yet allowed to treat COVID19 patients.

The Lagos State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has also warned doctors and medical practitioners against receiving and treating COVID-19 patients in their private facilities, stressing that such practice could put the lives of health workers in danger.


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