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Health News of Sunday, 2 May 2021

Source: Punch

Lagos locates 150-bed children’s hospital near LAWMA refuse loading station

The new seven-storey 150-bed Massey Street Children’s Hospital being constructed by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration is located close to the Lagos State Waste Management Agency’s refuse transfer loading station on Adeniji Adele Road, Lagos Island, PUNCH HealthWise can authoritatively report.

Our correspondent reports that during a visit to the construction site on Friday, the proposed children hospital is just a few metres from the LAWMA facility, noting that this might affect would-be users of the hospital when completed owing to environmental pollution.

PUNCH HealthWise, during the visit, sighted refuse-laden LAWMA trucks parked inside the facility, even as the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said that the LAWMA facility does not hold refuse.

Omotosho spoke on a live radio programme on Friday.

Apart from the proposed children hospital’s closeness to the refuse transfer loading station, findings by our correspondent also showed that there was heavy vehicular movements, with the attendant loud blaring of horns and loud calls for passengers, as well as heavy commercial activities such as street trading ongoing in the area, which might affect smooth access to the hospital, especially during emergency.

Similarly, PUNCH HealthWise observed that the area is a den of the ubiquitous miscreants and street urchins, who have been known to pose security risk to Lagosians and may be a source of concerns to patients that seek care at the health facility when completed.

Sanwo- Olu had, on April 28, inaugurated the construction of Massey Street Children’s Hospital, a 150-bed specialist facility for children in the state.

The governor said the construction of the facility reflected his administration’s unwavering determination to bridge all gaps in the health sector.

“The current Massey Children’s Hospital was established in 1914 as the First General Outpatient Clinic and Referral Centre in Lagos State. It was converted to a full-fledged Paediatrics Hospital in 1961,” Sanwo-Olu had said.

Findings by our correspondent further showed that the Adeniji Adele axis is characterised by a large amount of hustle and bustle characteristic of any big city.

The number of cars parked on the road and the volume of trucks plying it as of the time of the visit were overwhelming, our correspondent reported.

Some residents of the area who spoke to PUNCH HealthWise said that siting a children’s hospital in Adeniji Adele environ, being one of the heavy commercial areas in the state, is not ideal.

“You can see things for yourself. The hospital is close to a LAWMA facility that receives and transfers refuse on a daily basis.

“Apart from that, this area is too busy for a children’s hospital to be located. You have lots of vehicles parked on the road. We witness obstruction of traffic every now and then and you have a lot of miscreants in this environment,” a resident, Gbenga Ojo, told our correspondent during the visit.

Another resident who simply identified himself as Rafiu, a businessman, said the government should not deny the fact that the LAWMA facility would affect the children’s hospital when completed.

“The LAWMA trucks are always on the road and sometimes, when they break down, they constitute a nuisance to the environment.

“There are a lot of commercial activities on Adeniji Adele Road. The atmosphere is always tense. Sometime in the past, we did experience unpleasant odour coming from the LAWMA facility, especially when their vehicles broke down and also when it rained,” Rafiu alleged.

Speaking during a radio interview on Nigeria Info with Jimi Disu on Friday, the state commissioner for information and strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said that an Environmental Impact Assessment of the area was done before the site was chosen, insisting that the gap between the LAWMA facility and the site of the children’s hospital is wide.

“The size of the land is so large. So, it won’t have anything to do with the LAWMA facility.

“The LAWMA facility is not a facility that holds waste. It is a transfer base. It is in an enclosure and has nothing to do with the hospital. It is disinfected at all times. When you go there, you will not perceive any odour,” the commissioner told his radio host, Jimi Disu, who had also decried the proposed children’s hospital location.

Omotosor added that the LAWMA facility will, instead, complement the hospital by managing its non-medical wastes, assuring that environmental experts and doctors had also visited the site.

Meanwhile, a Public Health Physician, Dr. Oladoyin Odubanjo, speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, warned that the state government should address the concerns raised by members of the public.

”The traffic alone can be an issue, whereby you have an emergency and people cannot access the road. The government should start planning around these concerns.

“We may say it can’t happen; but we can only be sure when we might have considered it well and made a contingency plan in case the trucks break down on the road.

“What happens if something happens to the LAWMA facility? Have they built the system in a way that it is resilient?

“So, government must take cognizance of the people’s concern and listen to them. And plan,” Dr. Odubanjo, who is the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Academy of Science, counseled.

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