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Nigeria receives $8m from ECOWAS health organisation for COVID-19 fight

The Federal Government on Saturday took delivery of the $8million medical equipment from the ECOWAS/WAHO (Economic Community of West African States/West African Health Organisation) to help Nigeria’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The donated items include 12,800 googles, 50,000 pairs of small gloves, 100,000 pairs of medium gloves, 144,000, pairs of medium gloves, 5,050 medium  gowns, 13,120 small gowns, 5,050 large gowns, 8,190 coveralls, 1,600 full face shields, 10,000 surgical masks, 5,000 bottles of 70mls sanitizers produced in Nigeria delivered by GIZ on behalf of German government, 40,512 diagnostics test kits,  40,512 viral transport medium, 40,512 extraction kits, two ventilators and two ventilators’ trolleys. 

Receiving them at the Premier Medical Warehouse, Jabi, in Abuja, chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, noted the working partnership that is making the world overcome the pandemic. 

Mustapha, represented by Mr Olusegun Adekunle, Permanent Secretary General Services Office- (GSO), Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF), said that the pandemic had been devastating not just on the African content but also at the global level. 

The SGF urged ECOWAS member states to recommit themselves to the fight against COVID-19 to secure the region from its devastating effects. 

Mustapha stated that the pandemic was not yet over and the sub-region cannot afford to let up on their commitment to one another. 

He said that the three major reasons the virus have continue to spread around are; “They are my colleague so I can speak without the mask. They are my close friends so I can speak without the mask. They are my relations so I can speak without the mask. Don’t do the above three mistakes. Save yourself and others.” 

Mustapha noted that some of the donated items were scarce commodity being chased after by some other countries in desperate need of them. 

Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), Prof Stanley Okolo, said all the goods handed over were procured with the grant provided by German government through the German Development Bank (KFW), BMZ, German International Development Office and the GIZ.

He said the coronavirus is going to be around for sometime hence the need for citizens to get into the habit of modifying their behaviours. 

Professor Okolo said that WAHO, which came into existence 33 years ago by the decree of the Heads of States and government, is happy with its achievements for the region and will continue to do more. 

Ludwig Kitchener, GIZ-ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator and Representative of the German Government lauded the cooperation between GIZ and WAHO which started in 2016 through the regional programme, Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS region, which is for regional surveillance, preparedness and control architecture for infectious diseases. 

Kitchener said GIZ is currently supporting its partners to respond to the COVID-19 crisis through technical assistance in training health personnel, assistance in risk communications and coordination activities.

Already, Nigeria has provided facilities and logistics support to ECOWAS towards the fight against COVID-19 which include a warehouse for storing all procurement of medical commodities and planes for distribution of the items to the region.

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. 

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