The outstanding feat of the Lagos State Government and its Commissioner forHealth, Prof. Akin Abayomi, in combating the COVID-19 pandemic has been acknowledged, through the presentation of special recognition awards by the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA).

While Lagos State Government emerged as the Most Responsive COVID-19 State Government of the year at NHEA 2021, held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island at the weekend, Prof. Akin Abayomi bagged the award for the Most Outstanding COVID-19 State Health Commissioner of the year.

Abayomi, who was on hand to receive both awards at the event themed “Celebrating Our Healthcare Heroes”, dedicated it to all health and frontline workers for their roles and sacrifices in the COVID response efforts.

The Commissioner said the State Government has a policy of not receiving any awards for COVID-19 response because efforts aimed at preventing and managing the global pandemic are still ongoing, noting however that the State government is receiving the NHEA award to acknowledge the bravery of all frontline workers.

He said, “We have a policy not to receive any award on COVID-19 because the disease is still existing but today we are here to acknowledge the bravery of all the health frontline workers. During the battle against COVID, we lost 14 healthprofessionals; 12 doctors and two nurses. This is just to remind us that there are still people dying around the world from COVID”.

“We want to say that we really appreciate all the work that has been done by the frontline workers and sacrifices that have been made during COVID-19; some doctors and nurses and professionals never saw their families for four weeks, they were constantly on call working night and day trying to save lives. And to all the healthcare heroes, all of you, these awards are for you, these awards are yours”, Abayomi stated.

He noted that the Lagos State Government is not resting on its oars in the battle against COVID, stressing that strategies have been put in place and are being implemented to prevent a third wave of the disease in Lagos and Nigeria.

“We have set up a committee for the third wave mitigation and prevention, it is a strategic committee and its mission is to stop Lagos and Nigeria from going into a third wave. They are working very hard behind the scenes to make sure that we can carry on with our economic livelihood”, he explained.

Speaking before the presentation of the awards to the State Government and the Commissioner, the Chairman Advisory Board of NHEA Dr. Anthony Omolola, applauded the Lagos State Government and the Ministry of Health for a well-coordinated COVID response which helped to flatten the curve of infection.

“We are very proud of how Lagos State Government and Ministry of Healthresponded to the outbreak of COVID-19”, he said.

Dr. Omolola explained that the NHEA is an annual event that celebrates distinguished personalities and organisations who have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian health sector.

He stated that NHEA which started in 2014 has become a high profile event in the healthcare industry, gaining wide acceptance from stakeholders in the healthcare community, public and private sectors, adding that the award is an initiative of the Global Health Project and Resources in Partnership with Anadach group.

His words: “Over the years, the NHEA has endeared more awareness on the quality and standards of services provided by various stakeholders in the industry, by inspiring them to adopt International best practices and aspire to be the benchmark for excellent healthcare service delivery in Nigeria and Africa in general”.

“NHEA’s recognition aims to stimulate quality improvement and innovation in the Nigerian health sector, leading to improved service delivery and management of key health issues and the capacity of individuals to influence and set new performance standards in Nigeria and beyond”.

At the event, three healthcare professionals who had distinguished themselves in various fields were presented with a Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awardees are Gen. Aderonke Kale (rtd), a medical doctor and a consultant psychiatrist, who is a pioneer female military personnel and the first female commandant of the Nigeria Army Medical Corps; Dr John Nwaiwu, a respected Pharmacist and one time Deputy Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service and Prof. John Idoko, a former Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS.

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