From left — Dr. Abosede Lewu, Executive Director, Girslaide Initiative; Bruno Akpaibor, Cluster Head, Ethics Risk & Compliance, Novartis; Osayi Alile, Chief Executive Officer, ACT Foundation; Ogonna Oraegbunam, Cluster Head, Patient Access & Public Affairs, English West Africa, Novartis; and Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, Director of Grants and Programmes, ACT Foundation, at the launch of the Novartis-ACT Foundation COVID-19 Response Initiative in Lagos.
Aspire Coronation Trust, ACT, Foundation has announced the launch of a new COVID-19 response initiative targeting Lagos, Kano and Edo states.
According to the Executive Director of ACT Foundation, Osayi Alile, the intervention funded by Novartis, through its Nigeria office, is a direct response to the lack of access to Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, for frontline workers.
On how the ACT Foundation COVID-19 initiative will work, Alile said: “This intervention aims to provide support for the various emergency activities in Nigeria against the spread of COVID-19, through the distribution of face masks, face shields and latex disposable gloves.
“There will also be collaborations with medical personnel in beneficiary states; distribution of training documentary to beneficiary centres; and provision of information pamphlets on the prevention of the spread of the virus.
“The distribution of PPE will be focused on three states—Lagos, Kano and Edo— and will be facilitated by our partners at Girlsaide Initiative, a local non-profit committed to health education and empowerment.
“Lagos State, the epicentre of the virus in Nigeria, will be given top priority,” Alile added.
Alile, who lamented that the COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of health care systems around the world, said countries had been faced with a shortage of necessary protective equipment, putting an additional toll on health care workers, and increasing their risk of contracting the virus.
On the importance of the ACT Foundation COVID-19 response initiative, she stressed that “in developing countries where there is insufficient health infrastructure, health care workers are at an even higher risk.
“Unfortunately, this shortage in protection for medical personnel adversely affects patients as well.
“In Nigeria, due to the increasing rates of infection among healthcare workers, many are hesitant to meet with patients, leading to lower diagnosis and testing rates, and ultimately more lives lost.
“This means that the provision of PPE to healthcare workers in Nigeria is paramount for the successful fight against COVID-19.”