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24 April 2020

Don’t stigmatise health facilities exposed to COVID-19 cases — Lagos Govt

The Lagos State Government has urged the public to desist from stigmatising health facilities that might have been exposed to COVID19 cases in the state. Dr. Abiola Idowu, Executive Secretary, State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA), made the plea in a statement on Thursday night. Idowu was reacting to a list of some health facilities being circulated on social media as purportedly exposed to COVID-19 cases in the state.

She said that such a list did not emanate from the agency, nor the state Ministry of Health, through HEFAMAA, ever issued such a list.

According to her, stigma can drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination, prevent people from seeking healthcare immediately, and discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours. Idowu explained that some health facilities might inadvertently be admitted or treated patients with COVID-19 without knowing. She said that if such happened, the facility would be temporarily closed for decontamination, while the staff would be trained on infection, prevention, and control after which the facility would be safe to carry on its normal operations. Idowu, however, appealed to the patients infected with COVID-19 to prevent severe health problems by reporting at the government designated facility for treatment. She also urged all health facilities operating in Lagos to adhere strictly to the principle on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), and maintain a high degree of suspicion for COVID-19.

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