By Michael Eboh
Hours after mobilising oil and gas firms to intervene with over $30 million in the country’s efforts at tackling the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Friday, also donated 17 items, comprising 10 ventilators, ambulances and oxygen generating plant among others, to the COVID-19 isolation centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The other items are patient monitor, hospital bed, bedside cupboards, overtop tables, air conditioners, full automated five-part hematology analyzer, semi-automated chemistry analyser, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system, pro- express Samsung printer, Binoculars, microscope, table-top centrifuge, and pipettes,
Speaking during the presentation of the items to the centre in Abuja, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, however, noted that prevention remained the only defense to the pandemic, while he urged Nigerians to stick to the basic guidelines provided by the health authorities.
He said, “We are all part of history. The year 2020 will go down as a year of the first major pandemic in the modern world.
“We are acting locally as part of the global effort in combating this scourge. Our response today, therefore, will go a long way in determining how well history will judge us.”
Kyari affirmed that the government alone would not be able to do all that is needed, while he called on other corporate organisations to complement the efforts of the government.
The NNPC chief executive further stated that the oil and gas industry was collaborating to strengthen Nigeria’s response to the pandemic, adding that the effort was coordinated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
He said, “We will support government agencies in providing urgently needed resources, human and material, required to curb this menace. The government alone cannot do this. Health systems world over are getting overwhelmed.
“Countries with stronger health systems are struggling to contain the disease. It is obvious that to fight this menace, we all have to collaborate to ensure that Nigeria defeats this virus.”
“NNPC on its own is providing the 17 items to support the isolation centre at the University of Abuja Teaching hospital in Gwagwalada.”
Accepting the items on behalf of the centre, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Professor Bissallah Ekele, commended the NNPC for its kind gesture, stating that the NNPC was the third group to have donated to the hospital to help in curbing the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He further commended the NNPC and promised to make effective and judicious use of the equipment.
He said, “This is the second or third time we are receiving huge support. We earlier had support from the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Federal Capital Territory Administration and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.
“NNPC donation is a big one and the most significant. I can say that this is prime in all that we have received so far.”