Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday took delivery of vital supplies worth $22 million (about N8.5 billion), to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria from the representatives of European Union and United Nations.
The shipment, along with others coming soon, were procured through the EUR 50 million One UN COVID-19 Basket Fund with a significant contribution from the EU and UN.
Recall that UN in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria launched the One UN COVID-19 Response Basket Fund on April 6, 2020.
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.
Speaking at the handover event, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, said: “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 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, UN while making sure that we protect the most vulnerable.”
Also speaking, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon 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 includes, 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 COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the novel coronavirus.
The supplies were handed over to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.