The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says it is currently struggling with lack of bed spaces for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Lagos state.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of NCDC, made this revelation at the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19 on Thursday, April 30. Ihekweazu added that although there are about 3,500 bed spaces available across the country, this is insufficient and it leaves the infectious disease control agency to struggle.
He said: “In response to the question about bed spaces. There is not doubt about that, we are struggling in certain places especially in Lagos. To an extent Kano and Abuja too but the biggest challenge right now is in Lagos where bad spaces are really tight.
“Across the country, we have about 3500 bed spaces identified as available for COVID-19 but in Lagos we are really struggling. So, we are going to keep trying to work with them to make more spaces available.”
He added: “Lagos is the only place where we are struggling with bed spaces for now. We will always tell Nigerians the truth. We are struggling with bed spaces in Lagos for now.”
There are 947 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lagos alone and 187 of these patients have been discharged after recovering from the disease. The isolation centers in Lagos are at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and at Onikan Stadium.
Speaking at the briefing, Ihekweazu said efforts are being made to change strategy in order not to allow the inadequate bed spaces to affect the fight against coronavirus.
Ihekweazu also said the agency has adopted a new measure to make testing more effective, appealing to Nigerians for support.
He said: “We are in the process of scaling up testing across the country and the key component that has changed in this is that in Lagos, Abuja and Kano, instead of waiting for people to call us, we are now going to where the patients are, so we have set up specific testing locations and of course in collaboration and under the leadership of the state in these three states to increase the samples collected from cases that actually do meet the case definition.
“So, we are going into the communities, health centers to identify those with these case definition and bring them in. We are doing this because we are certain that we have ongoing community transmission, especially in these three cities. We have to adapt our response to this situation. We adapted to the circumstances in every state, every city where the nature of transmission changes.
“These changes mean that more and more people will be going into the community. We really need Nigerians to support the work that they do and not stigmatize them. Currently, we are living with COVID-19, but not the way we thought about it during the HIV era. This is about communities. How can we as a country manage this as we transit into the next weeks? As we release the guidelines for implementing the non-pharmaceutical intervention that will be released very soon, we are doing this in the context of rising cases.”