Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government on Saturday took delivery of vital supplies worth $22 million (about 8,525,000,000) from the representatives of European Union and United Nations, to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria from the representatives of European Union and United Nations
The shipment, along with others soon to be delivered, are procured through the EUR 50 million One UN COVID-19 Basket Fund with a significant contribution from the EU and UN.
The UN in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria launched the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund on April 6.
The Basket Fund is designed to serve as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.
Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, stated: ‘Today t 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 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, all while making sure that we protect the most vulnerable.’
Mr Edward Kallon, the UN’s Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said: ‘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 and ensure people are tested and treated as quickly as possible to save lives.’
The current shipment include, among other items, 545 oxygen concentrators, more than 100,000 test kits, infrared digital no-touch thermometers, numerous personal protective equipment (PPEs), laboratory supplies and emergency health kits that will boost the Nigerian Government’s efforts COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the coronavirus.
The essential medical supplies will enhance efforts of the frontline responders providing care and treatment to people affected by the virus, increase testing capacity and early detection of those affected by the virus, and support the hospitalisation and management of COVID-19 cases.
The supplies were handed over to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who was represented by Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire.
The European Union, has contributed EUR 50 million through the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 response, which serves as One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.
Mustapha said 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.
He said the One UN COVID-19 response is working closely with the Nigerian 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.
The fund, he added, will 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,’ stated Mustapha.
The Basket Fund, managed by UNDP has mobilized US$61.3 million, including US$54.6 million from the European Union (EU); US$2.2 million from UN agencies; $US4 million from the private sector (Dangote US$ 3.8 million and AP Maersk US$ 0.2 million); and US$0.4 million from the Government of Switzerland. The Basket Fund is working to mobilize additional resources from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the MacArthur Foundation.
As of 31 May 2020, the Project Board had allocated US$ 41,317,450.59 for activities to be undertaken by Participating UN Organizations (PUNOs) covering the following areas: Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE); Strengthening State level Operational Capacity in Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Control; Building Capacity of Healthcare Workers in Case Management and strengthening hospital capacities to respond; Engagement with Civil Society Organizations to reverse the negative impact of COVID-19 on equal access to essential health services; and, procurement of disease commodity packages.
The overall management of the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund will be led and coordinated by the Project Board. The Project Board has representation from the Presidential Task Force; Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), relevant Government departments, fund contributing donors and the UN.