By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), has donated COVID-19 equipment to Nigeria.
The equipment which was received yesterday by Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on behalf of the government, included; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as equipment for Intensive Care Units (ICUs), such as oxygen compressors.
The organisations said the medical equipment worth 18 Million Dollars, for the 15 West Africa country including Nigeria.
Receiving the items, Mr Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) , thanked WAHO for keeping its promise, while re-stating Government’s commitment to ensure the supplies were distributed equitably.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Environment Mr Mahmoud Abubakar, noted this was the second bulk of consignment of critical medical supplies the country had received from the organization 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.
The SGF 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 hospitalized patients, and protection of frontline workers.
He said, “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 recognize 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 added.
In his speech, Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, said that the donation were 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 noted.
Mamora, however advised Nigerians that even with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, they should not let down their guard.
In his remarks, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General , Nigeria Center 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 , Director General WAHO, noted that the donation was part of the Organization’s mandate which was to support ECOWAS countries in their National Health response.
While congratulating Nigeria for recieving its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, Stanley stated that the Medical supplies would add more credence in the fight against the virus.
In his remarks, Mr. Damien Bishop, Project Coordinator, Regional Programme Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region (RPPP), GIZ Nigeria & ECOWAS said that as the COVID19 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 here in lead for the organization of the event.