By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children International (SCI) have announced the donation of N38 Million-naira worth of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) commodities and Medical Oxygen devices to all the 28 primary health care centers and 2 General Hospitals in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

SCI in a statement issued yesterday said the donation was announced during the presentation ceremony of the supplies by Save the Children to the Ministry of Health in Lagos State.

The donation was part of the efforts to continue supporting the Government of Lagos State in fighting COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will complement the efforts of the government, which is working to contain the spread of the virus in Lagos, support the frontline workers in their work on the pandemic, and sustain ongoing health care responses – including adequate oxygen therapy – to patients with the infection, as well as under-five children with severe pneumonia in the State.

“The donation of these critical devices and commodities is made possible through the support of the pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) through the Integrated Sustainable Childhood Pneumonia and Infectious Diseases Reduction in Nigeria (INSPIRING) Project. The Pulse Oximeters and Oxygen Concentrators are necessary tools in the hands of the frontline workers that will empower them to promptly diagnose hypoxemia (inadequate concentration of Oxygen in the blood) and commence Oxygen therapy for patients that need it.

“Since the index case was recorded in Nigeria, Save the Children has worked with the Nigeria government to respond to the pandemic as a member of the Covid-19 Response Task Force at both Federal and several state levels and supporting the development and deployment of COVID-19 strategies to contain the spread of the disease.”

Meanwhile, Save the Children’s new partnership with GlaxoSmithKline regarding COVID-19 prevention and control is a step further to catalyze change and contribute to an accelerated reduction in child deaths from pneumonia and other preventable infectious diseases.

“We are aiming to do more to support vulnerable children and families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria. “Save the Children International remains committed to support the efforts of controlling and treating COVID-19 and pneumonia through our continued collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health.”

The Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria (GSK), Kunle Oyelana said on this occasion, “During this pandemic, everybody has an important role to play to curtail the spread of the dreadful disease. It is key to us at GSK to partner with other organizations and governments to explore innovative ways to strengthen healthcare systems in communities while providing necessary support and materials to health workers to slow down the spread of the virus.”

Dr Isah Adamu, Chief of Party INSPIRING Project, Save the Children International Nigeria said, “It is very interesting to note that the INSPIRING Project was re-designed to provide room for interventions that support the government in fighting COVID-19 both in Lagos and Jigawa States. The project does not only supply medical and non-medical items alone but it is also strengthening the health system in 28 primary health cares and 2 general hospitals in Ikorodu Local Government of Lagos State.”

Ikorodu is one of the largest local government areas in Lagos State with various needs of community development intervention. We believe the donation will complement the preparedness and response of health care workers and also strengthen access to quality health care by the population.

Since the inception of the INSPIRING Project in Jigawa and Lagos, Save the Children said it is working with the respective state governments to increase the quality of existing preventive and curative services provided to newborns and girls and boys under five at health facilities, influencing governments to adequately fund and support the implementation of existing policies critical for the quality delivery on health services related to childhood pneumonia, and is promoting preventive home care and care seeking practices for sick children under 5 years. “We bring in new technologies and innovation in addressing childhood illnesses.”

Save the Children called on government and relevant stakeholders to sustain their support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State. We also call on the Lagos State Government to inaugurate free oxygen therapy for under-five children in the State, and to include coverage for complicated and severe pneumonia for under-5s in the State Health Insurance benefit package.

“We urge the Lagos State Government to take the lead to adopt the National Medical Oxygen Policy to drive state specific initiatives to ensure access and availability of medical oxygen in healthcare facilities in the State. Finally, we implore that lessons learnt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be utilized to improve health service delivery and access of citizens to universal health coverage in Lagos State.”

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