The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have donated medical equipment to help Nigeria battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja received the equipment on Thursday.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment for Intensive Care Units (ICUs), such as oxygen compressors, were among the products.
SETI valued the medical equipment at 18 million dollars and intended for 15 West African countries, including Nigeria.
Nigeria’s 13.6 percent share of COVID-19 was handed over to the PTF on Thursday at the Premier Medical Warehouse in Abuja.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), this is the first of two consignments that will be given to the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO for distribution to the 15 ECOWAS Member States by WAHO’s Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCSDC).
When Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), received the products, he thanked WAHO for keeping its word and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring that the supplies were distributed fairly.
Mustapha, who was represented by Mr Mahmoud Abubakar, Minister of Environment, noted that this was the second consignment of essential medical supplies the country had received from the organization in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nigeria, like many other ECOWAS Member States is currently experiencing a second wave of the pandemic which has seen the emergence of some other strains of the virus.
“The number of confirmed cases and attendant deaths during the second wave has exceeded the levels experienced during the first.
“As at March, 3, 2021,Nigeria had recorded cumulative total of 156,963, confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 1,939 deaths.
“This is in addition to the negative impact of the pandemic on our population’s mental well-being, non-pandemic health issues and socio-economic development,” he explained.
Mustapha said that as the pandemic progresses, it is vital to maintain national response capacities by ensuring the availability of necessary medical supplies to improve diagnostic testing, hospitalized patient care, and frontline worker safety.
“I will like to say that this is a clear statement of the strength of collaboration and solidarity at the heart of regional integration that will enhance inclusive, sustainable development across the region.
“This support could not have come at a better time. I also want to recognise the efforts put in by all stakeholders toward not only mitigating any possible disruptions to the supply of essential equipment and supplies but also to ensure access to affordable and viable vaccines as we fight recurrent outbreaks in the region such as Lassa fever, Yellow fever, and the recent outbreak of Ebola in Guinea,” he said.
Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, characterized the donation as “essential supplies” in the COVID-19 response strategy.
“I wish to convey the appreciation of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and of the people of Nigeria, to ECOWAS and WAHO for this brotherly gesture
“We also appreciate the choice of Abuja by ECOWAS and WAHO, as the central hub for receipt and distribution of regional supplies of medical products and equipment for the fight against COVID-19,” he said
Mamora, on the other hand, warned Nigerians not to relax their guard only because the COVID-19 vaccines have arrived.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said the main difference between the country’s response to COVID-19 and the 2014 Ebola outbreak was increased cooperation across West African health institutions, as evidenced by ECOWAS and WAHO support.
Ihekweazu claimed that the past year had shown the country’s strength of cooperation as well as the optimistic spirit of sacrifice and public service.
“The unity of purpose demonstrated through the financial, material and technical support have been phenomenal. The successes recorded are directly attributable to the strong support received.
”We’re grateful for the medical supplies received and offer our commitment to account for each and every one of them as we respond to this outbreak,“ he stated.
Earlier, Prof. Staley Okoro, the Director General of WAHO, noted that the donation was part of the organisation’s mandate which was to support ECOWAS countries in their national health response.
Stanley congratulated Nigeria on receiving the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, stating that the medical supplies would lend credibility to the virus’s war.
Mr Damien Bishop, Project Coordinator, Regional Programme Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP), GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect lives around the world, including those of the ECOWAS population, the German government, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in collaboration with the Euromed Foundation, is working to prevent the disease.
Bishop explained that the Regional Programme Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP) has been introduced by GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS since 2016 on behalf of the German Government and the European Union to support ECOWAS and ECOWAS Member States, and that GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS is in charge of the event’s organization.
NAN recalls that during the pandemic, WAHO developed a regional distribution center based at our department, the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS- RCSDC).
A significant donation of essential medical supplies from UNDP is included in the current consignment, as is a second tranche of products procured by GIZ with funds from the German government and the European Union.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN