The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) have donated medical equipment to support Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The equipment were received by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja.
The items included Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and equipment for Intensive Care Units (ICUs), such as oxygen compressors.
The medical equipment, SETI acted at 18 million dollars, were meant for the 15 West African countries, including Nigeria.
Nigeria’s share of 13.6 per cent was handed over to the PTF on COVID-19, on Thursday at the Premier Medical Warehouse, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is the first of two consignments of more to follow that will be handed over to the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO for distribution to the 15 ECOWAS Member States by WAHO with its Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCSDC).
Receiving the items, Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), thanked WAHO for keeping its promise, while restating government’s commitment to ensure the supplies were distributed equitably.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Environment, Mr Mahmoud Abubakar, noted that this was the second bulk of consignment of critical medical supplies the country had received from the organisation for the response of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“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 evolves, there was a critical need to continually strengthen national response capacities through the availability of essential medical supplies to enhance diagnostic testing, treatment of hospitalised patients and protection of frontline workers.
“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.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, described the donation as critical 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.
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Mamora, however, advised Nigerians that even with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, they should not let down their guard.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that the biggest standout difference in the response to COVID-19 in the country and the 2014 Ebola outbreak was increased collaboration across West African health institutions, as demonstrated by the support received from ECOWAS and WAHO.
Ihekweazu said that the last one year had revealed the strength of collaboration and the positive spirit of sacrifice and public service inherent in the country.
“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.
While congratulating Nigeria for receiving its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, Stanley stated that the medical supplies would add more credence in the fight against the virus.
On his part, Mr Damien Bishop, the 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 globally and those of the population of the ECOWAS, the German Government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in collaboration with the European Union was supporting the ECOWAS Region with COVID-19 response materials.
Bishop said that at GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, the Regional Programme Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP) was being implemented since 2016 on behalf of the German Government and the European Union to support ECOWAS and ECOWAS Member States and herein lead for the organisation of the event.
NAN recalls that WAHO has established a regional distribution hub during the pandemic working out of our agency, the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS- RCSDC).
The current consignment of goods include a large donation of critical medical materials from UNDP and a second tranche of goods procured by GIZ with funds from the German Government and the European Union.
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