By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
The Federal Government on Tuesday announced that only federal health institutions that made judicious use of the N49 billion intervention fund released to them to combat the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19), would get the remaining 50 per cent.
The Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Prince Clem Agba, disclosed this on Tuesday, during an assessment visit to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua, Edo state.
The minister who commended the management of ISTH on the utilisation of the fund disclosed that each of the 52 federal health institutions was meant to get N950 million to upgrade their infrastructure and improve resilience in the sector.
According to him, “This fund is meant for some specific purposes such as the building of molecular laboratories at the cost of N18.5 billion for the 52 health institutions and equipment for isolation centres at N5.2 billion for the institutions.
“Provision was also made for the building of 520 Intensive Care Units, 10 each for the 52 institutions at cost of N18.3 billion and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), at N7 billion.
“In all, each of the federal health institutions is to get N950 million. Edo state is blessed with three federal health institutions and this has brought close to N3 billion into the medical centres in the state. This is aside from the N1 billion given to the state.
“Every state got N1 billion with the exception of Lagos, Kano and FCT that got more because they are the epic centres of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have the same impression with what I saw in the centres I have visited before now; quality work being done, equipment being purchased, ISTH has always been an institution of reference for others.”
The minister also disclosed that two federal health institutions in Edo State, ISTH and University of Benin Teaching Hospital, would benefit from the $18.2 million fund from the Japanese Government.
He said the fund is meant to strengthen disease control in the country and also build the capacity of personnel.
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of ISTH, Dr Sylvanus Okogbeni, had commended the government for the intervention fund and noted that it has impacted positively in the area of disease control.
He said with the molecular laboratory, diagnosis were being made without a haven to send samples abroad.
“We are able to diagnose not only for COVID-19 but other viruses. It was instrumental in the last few months.
“We were able to resolve the mysterious deaths in Delta and Eastern part of the country,” he stated.