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N1m on a COVID-19 patient: Abayomi was misunderstood, says Lagos

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The Lagos state government says Akin Abayomi, commissioner for health, was misunderstood on his comment about the amount spent daily on a COVID-19 patient. 

At a press briefing on Thursday, the commissioner had said Lagos government spends between N500,000 and N1 million daily to treat a COVID-19 patient in critical condition.

But a part of the media had reported the commissioner as saying N1 million was spent daily on each COVID-19 patient, irrespective of their condition.

Gbenga Omotosho, commissioner for information and strategy, in a statement on Friday said what Abayomi meantwmeant the range of symptom manifestations of the virus.

“The honourable commissioner, in the interest of transparency, offered a window onto the economics of COVID-19 care and, regrettably, some reporters misunderstood his comments,” he said.

“While we commend the role of the press in probing into the application of public funds, we look up to them to be balanced and accurate their reporting.

“It is clear that N1,000,000 sounds more sensational than N100,000, but we must not allow sincerity to be sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism. What the honourable commissioner sought to communicate was the range of symptom manifestations of the Corona virus – from mild and moderate to severe and critical.

“He explained that the cost of treating these manifestations vary, considerably. In summary, he said this about the cost of COVID-19 care:

“Every case is different and it is very difficult to calculate exactly how much managing a COVID-19 patient would cost, but what is clear to us is that when you add up the expenses of maintaining the facility, infrastructure, human resources, feeding and consumables, it costs the government approximately 100,000 naira per day for a non-complicated COVID-19 admission.

“Of the 13,835 positive cases identified in Lagos thus far, about 18% equivalent to 2,490 have been admitted into the State’s isolation centres. Of all these patients admitted – about 7% were severe and 1% was critical; that is 8% of total admissions.

“The honourable commissioner gave an indication of the considerations factored into the costing of intensive care, including ventilation, dialysis, intravenous antibiotics, oxygen and other high and intensive care requirements, depending on the complications of the case.

“He went on to estimate the cost of intensive care, which usually requires a longer period of admission, and may range between N500,000 to N1,000,000 per day.”

He said unfortunately, certain sections of the press chose to latch on to the figure of N1,000,000 and disregarded the painstaking context that had been provided by Abayomi.

He added that the figure was the upper end of a band and it applied to no more than 200 out of 2,490 admissions, majority of whom recovered, and that this means the balance of 2,290 non complicated admissions each cost around N100,000 per day.

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