Amidst pressure on Nigeria to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has received massive supports from the corporate Nigeria.
Aside the cash donations also coming through some state governments from the banking sector, the battle against COVID-19 has received material and equipment supports with support from some telecommunication companies which will go a long way towards ensuring that mobile users receive verified information on COVID-19.
The latest major support has just been received from MTN Communication Nigeria Plc, which provided the Centre with tools it required to scale-up its critical response system, such as 1,200 SIMs preloaded with N100,000 airtime and 3GB data monthly for an initial period of six months; 38 toll-free lines (premium numbers) at no cost to the NCDC; 38 Smart Feature phones for the toll-free lines; 10 MiFi devices and daily COVID-19 prevention messages to all MTN subscribers.
The support package which has been valued at over N700 million is essential for NCDC’s Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) tool which helps to digitalise disease surveillance through capturing, collating, and displaying data for prompt decision making. The company had earlier announced its Yello Hope package, which is aimed at supporting its customers and government in the battle against Covid-19. According to the Chief Corporate Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, Tobechukwu Okigbo, the company will continue to engage with the government and relevant stakeholders in pursuit of new ways to leverage their core expertise, technology and infrastructure to support the government’s efforts to keep the citizens safe. ‘In the next few days, we believe that the various conversations around partnerships will start yielding visible results,” Mr. Okigbo added.
Also coming from the banking sector was Guaranty Trust Bank’s donation of a 100-bed fully equipped Isolation Centre in Onikan to the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH).
Dangote Foundation donated trucks to aid the NCDC’s logistics and operations. On its part, while sector groups such as the Nigeria Oil & Gas industry have embarked on an industry-wide collaboration under the leadership of the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, to combat the pandemic and its attendant impact. The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, had called for multifaceted support from the private sector to aid the efforts of both the states and the federal government.