By Taiwo Okanlawon
The United Nations says it has delivered vital supplies worth 22 million dollars to the Federal Government to help the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
According to a statement by UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Communication, Eliana Drakopoulos, in Abuja on Sunday stated that the medical supplies were jointly delivered by the UN and European Union.
”The shipment, along with others coming soon, are procured through the One UN COVID-19 Basket Fund with a significant contribution from the EU and will be valued at more than 22 million dollars.
“The current shipment includes, among other items, 545 oxygen concentrators, more than 100,000 test kits, infrared digital no-touch thermometers and numerous personal protective equipment (PPEs), laboratory supplies.
“Others are emergency health kits that will boost the government’s efforts on COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the coronavirus,” Drakopoulos said.
According to her, the essential medical supplies will enhance the efforts of the frontline responders providing care and treatment to people affected by the virus.
She said it would also increase testing capacity and early detection of those affected by the virus and support the hospitalisation and management of COVID-19 cases.
Drakopoulos said that the supplies were handed over to the government through the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Drakopoulos said that it was officially presented to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at an event attended by high-level delegates from the EU, Ministry of Health and UN.
“The arrival of the medical supplies will be a boost to the government’s efforts to provide an efficient and effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus.
“These vital supplies co-funded by the EU will help us to both protect healthcare workers.
“It will ensure that people are tested and treated as quickly as possible to save lives,” the statement said, quoting Mr Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria.
She said that the EU has contributed 50 million euros through the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 response.
According to her, it serves as one COVID-19 financing and investment platform for different stakeholders including the UN.
She said other multilateral and bilateral donors as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists could channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the task force on COVID-19 response.
“Today we take a vital step in the response to the pandemic. The alliance between team Europe, the PTF and the UN has proven very strong. This is a partnership in practice when it matters the most.
“Addressing the health crisis in Nigeria and getting the economic wheels turning again are key priorities for the EU, while making sure that we protect the most vulnerable,” she quoted Amb. Ketil Karlsen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS
She said that the growing COVID-19 crisis threatens to disproportionately impact communities not only as a health crisis in the short term but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come.
Drakopoulos said that the One UN COVID-19 response was working closely with the government in its pandemic response efforts through sharing crucial information with communities on how to protect themselves, infection prevention and control, epidemiology/surveillance and management of COVID-19 cases.
She said that the fund would also support income-generating opportunities for people whose livelihoods are most at risk through cash transfers and help restore supply chains disrupted by the pandemic.
“We must all work together to contain the pandemic in Nigeria; it is only through close joint efforts that we can keep Nigerians healthy and ensure good care for those affected.
“We will beat this virus in Nigeria and the support we are receiving from partners such as the EU, UN and others brings us even closer to this ultimate goal,” the statement quoted Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman, PTF on COVID-19, as saying.