By Ezra Odogu
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday commended Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his team for flattening the curve and containing COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
Speaking virtually during the official unveiling of Evercare Hospital, a tertiary health centre in Lekki, Lagos on Thursday, Osinbajo hailed Sanwo-Olu for showing leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to commend you, Mr. Governor and your team on your handling of the COVID-19 pandemic so far. Thanks for showing to the world what strong knowledgeable leadership can deliver even with the wave of an unprecedented global adversity. You have done very well,” he said.
The Vice President said serious investment in health sector will reverse the trend of outbound medical tourism and begin to attract not just medical tourists from neighbouring regions but also developed nations to seek first class healthcare in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Governor Sanwo-Olu restated his administration’s commitment to improve healthcare infrastructure as well as make services more affordable and accessible for residents in Lagos State.
He said his administration is working with the private sector to reduce medical tourism and brain drain through provision of infrastructure and retraining of personnel in the health sector.
The Governor disclosed that his administration spent billions of naira last year on procurement of health equipment, adding that the equipment are on the way and when they arrive, they will complement what the country has in public health facilities.
He said: “For us as a government, we have raised our strength on health, especially our capital expenditure on health. We are currently renovating to a world class, six of our general hospitals. We are currently building two new general hospitals. We are building a children hospital. We are building an international research centre. All these are meant to complement what we have currently.
“We will also scale up tertiary health centre, Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). We will be discussing with you in the next coming months what we want to turn LASUTH to. All of these are to make healthcare accessible and affordable.
“We are trying to stop medical tourism; people traveling several thousand kilometres to go and secure or get health treatment. With good facilities, we will bring down the total cost of health care and provide quality health care.”
Speaking on why he is yet to receive the shot of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Sanwo-Olu said: “I just want to follow the rules. The rules are that the health workers at the frontline should first take it. So, I am pleading with the Commissioner of Health to be gracious and let me also take. So, they have given me a date, tomorrow (Friday) and I am hoping that they would have started giving it to the health workers.”
Also speaking, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, said the Lagos State Government will create enabling environment for private sector to change the face of healthcare services in the State and Nigeria.