Nigerian private sector leaders have continued to show their determination to win the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) by raising public awareness and supporting healthcare professionals, institutions and governments.
Recently, amid reports of shortage of bed spaces at facilities to treat coronavirus cases, private sector led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) quickly responded by handing over to Lagos State government an ultra-modern 150 bed space isolation centre fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who inaugurated the facility was full of gratitude to members of CACOVID who have displayed patriotism and public spirit by putting resources together to join hands with governments to tackle the public disease that has ravaged the entire world.
According to him, the launch of the isolation centre speaks to the can-do spirit of Nigerians. According to him; “The facility will certainly add to our capacity and enable us to do a lot more in scaling up. This centre will see us building an international infectious disease- research centre, isolation wards and doctors’ quarters. We are excited that people can come here, get well and go back to their respective homes.”
While pledging that the donated facility would be used to provide adequate treatment to those who are infected and help to stop the overall spread of the virus within the state, he urged all citizens to continue to take responsibility and follow directives of the government and health professionals towards reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives across communities.
“We need to take responsibility because the virus 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,” the governor said.
Earlier, in his remarks, the Lagos State commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said that the centre was the sixth facility in the state dedicated to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, and is coming onboard at a time when the state is ramping up its testing capacity.
Leading donors to the CACOVID basket fund, Aliko Dangote and Central Bank governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele described the facilities and all others that have been given out to the states and also the aggressive grassroots mobilisation by the group are part of the initiatives to curb the community spread of the dreaded disease.
Emefiele, said, the launch of the newly built isolation centre will surely help in boosting the capacity of Nigeria’s healthcare system towards containing the spread of COVID-19 in Lagos state.
Giving the reasons why efforts must be put together to stop the pandemic, the CBN boss lamented that the outbreak of the virus has had unprecedented impact on the global economy and indeed the Nigerian economy, saying that global growth is expected to contract by over 4.9 per cent in 2020 down from a positive growth of 2.9 per cent in 2019.
He said the Nigerian economy was exposed to a twin shock, of public health crisis and revenue shock driven primarily by 55 per cent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020.
“This unparalleled shock require that all state governments along with the organised private sector must work together to address these challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activities in our country.
“We have implemented several initiatives to cushion the effects of the pandemic which include the N50 billion intervention facility for house-hold and SMEs that were adversely affected by the pandemic, N100 billion facility for the health and pharmaceutical sector and a N1 trillion facility for the agricultural and manufacturing firms of the economy.
“Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the virus could spread and how long it will last requires that we build a sufficient capacity within our healthcare system in order to prevent the spread of the virus and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians and this requires that all parties come together in order to deal with this great challenge,” he said.
He commended the private sector led coalition group for supporting the government by providing donations to the tune of N29 billion, adding that these donations are being used to build well equipped isolation centres across the federation and take other measures.
Dangote who was represented by the CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Zouera Youssoufou, explained that the newly commissioned isolation centre is the most elaborate one that has been built so far.
“We are very proud because this isolation center is a model of what we are going to be doing in the remaining states as we are still building more across the federation. So, it is with great pride that we hand over this to the Lagos state government as this is very important.”
Also speaking, managing director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe said that Lagos was more vulnerable to spread of the virus due to its large population. He commended the state government for its efforts to reduce the spread and effect of the virus on the citizens. He also appreciated the state government’s support to CACOVID.
The Yaba Isolation 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.
Nigerian private sector leaders announced the creation of the Coalition Against Coronavirus (CACOVID) in March, 2020. The initiative, which is led by Aliko Dangote, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) and Herbert Wigwe of Access Bank, is also backed by Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among others.