By Hassan Zaggi
The Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 has gotten a boost as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have received delivery of what it described as vital supplies to help fight the pandemic in Nigeria.
In a statement in Abuja, the shipment, along with others coming soon, are procured through the One UN COVID-19 Basket Fund with a significant contribution from the EU – and will be valued at more than USD 22 million.
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 efforts COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the coronavirus.
Reacting to the development, the UN’s 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.”
On his part, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, reiterated that: “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, all while making sure that we protect the most vulnerable.”
The EU has, so far 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.
The statement regretted that 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.
The One UN COVID-19 response, the statement noted, 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 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.