Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says donations by its members to the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) fund as part of its contribution to the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic now ravaging the globe, now amounts to N29bn.
Emefiele, according to a statement by the coalition on Monday, spoke when the group led by the CBN donated a 150-bed fully equipped isolation centre to the Lagos State Government.
The funds donated in support of government’s fight against the pandemic, he continued, have been used to build and equip 32 isolation centres with over 5,000 beds and critical medical equipment across the country, with a target to reach 39 centres by the end of July.
The centre comes with a fully equipped medical laboratory and high dependency unit; personal protective equipment and other critical medical consumables; water and sewage treatment plants; 11kv power generator amongst other essentials. This is in addition to 34,000 test kits, sample collection swabs and infrared thermometers recently delivered to the NCDC.
The contributions, he noted, is testimony to how vital private sector collaboration is to preventing the spread of the virus and saving the lives of the citizens, stressing that the centre would enhance the healthcare system of Lagos and the management of COVID-19 within the state.
The CBN governor added that CACOVID had also provided in-kind food palliatives to members of the public across the country to ameliorate the effects of the virus on their welfare.
He commended members of the coalition for their generous and selfless donations which have helped in achieving its common goal of helping the nation fight the spread of COVID-19. He also lauded the healthcare workers and the state government for their efforts in implementing strategies, caring for the infected patients and reducing the spread of the virus in the state.
Commissioning the medical equipment, in Yaba area of the state, Governor BabajideSanwo-Olu of Lagos said the isolation centre would further strengthen the state’s healthcare system in dealing with the challenges of the Pandemic as the state currently leads the toll of Nigeria’s COVID-19 infections with over 10,000 confirmed cases.
The governor commended efforts by the coalition in mobilising resources quickly to support emergency responses, assuring that the facility would provide adequate treatment to the infected and help to stop the overall spread of the virus within the state.
He urged citizens to act responsibly by following the directives of the government and health professionals towards reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives across communities.
The virus, he lamented, “knows no race, ethnicity, religion or boundary. We need to take responsibility for our loved ones by wearing face mask, maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene to reduce morbidity and mortality.”
He announced plans by the Lagos State Government to build an International Infectious Disease Research Centre complete with doctors’ quarters and permanent isolation wards at the Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, as part of her COVID19 response and other infectious disease preparedness post-COVID19.
Speaking at the event, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the centre, the sixth facility in Lagos dedicated to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, and is coming at a time when the state is ramping up its testing capacity.
He further assured that the facility would be used to manage moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients and would assist in admitting and providing care for more patients.
Also, the Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote said the Lagos Isolation Centre was a model of what the coalition would build in other states.
Dangote, represented by Ms. Zouera Youssoufou, Managing Director Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), expressed great pride that the handover of the centre in Lagos is a reality.
More supports, she assured, “will come to the state from the coalition and we appreciate everyone’s contribution towards our goal.”
On his part, Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said Lagos was more vulnerable to the virus due to its large population, commending efforts of the state government to reduce the spread.