By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA — THE federal government Saturday, received some consignments containing critical medical equipment donated by the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS and the West African Health Organisation, WAHO.
The equipment, given to the country through WAHO, is aimed to support Nigeria’s effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donated items included ventilators, test kits, personal protective equipment, PPE’s and face masks.
Director-General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, who presented the items on behalf of the organisations to the country, explained that the items were donated to support Nigeria’s effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, speaking after taking delivery of the items, in Abuja, described the donation as good news as according to him, “these products are critical supplies in our COVID-19 response strategy.”
He conveyed the appreciation of President Muhammadu Buhari and the people of Nigeria, to ECOWAS and WAHO for what he described as “this brotherly gesture.”
Ehanire, who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS COVID-19 Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Health, said the government particularly “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.”
” It is a great indication of confidence and we shall play our role in providing support to our fellow member states in the ECOWAS subregion, to fight this disease outbreak, of which President Buhari was recently designated Champion of the COVID-19 response,”he said.
The minister said he was pleased that in addition to “these subregional efforts, our development partners have joined in support; this being thanks to the advocacy of WAHO and the ECOWAS Commission.”
Noting that everyone was a witness “to the enormous health, economic and social impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on low and lower medium countries of the world”, the minister explained that: “Since the 27th of February, when the first case was confirmed in Lagos, life has completely changed for us, as indeed it has in almost all nations.”
“The public health institution of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has been focused on providing the public health guidance we need to tackle the challenge,” he said.
According to him, “The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was set up to lead the whole-of-government response strategy and determine non-pharmaceutical measures to ensure the safety of citizens.”
He spoke further: “Our health workers are toiling assiduously to treat COVID-19 patients, provide emergency care, while not losing sight of routine and essential health services.
“They all need our support and encouragement and I believe that the provision of these test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE)will generate even more peace of mind to facilitate their work.”
Ehanire assures the donor organisations that the donated items will not only fairly distributed but also utilized judiciously.
He said he was “certain that when other ECOWAS Member states receive their portion of these supplies, they will be just as appreciative of the generosity of the Government and people of Germany.”