The European Union and United Nations have received and handed over urgently needed essential medical supplies to the Nigerian Government to fight COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The UN stated this in a statement jointly issued with the EU on Saturday in Abuja.
The statement said: “The EU and UN received delivery of vital supplies to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“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 $22 million.
“The current shipment includes, among other items, 545 oxygen concentrators, more than 100,000 test kits, infrared digital no-touch thermometers and numerous Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Others are laboratory supplies and emergency health kits that will boost the Nigerian Government’s efforts on COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the Coronavirus.”
According to the statement, the medical supplies will enhance efforts of the frontline responders providing care and treatment to people affected by the virus.
It said: “It will also increase testing capacity and early detection of those affected by the virus, and support the management of COVID-19 cases.
“The supplies were handed over to the Government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and officially presented to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“The items were presented to PTF at an event attended by high-level delegates from the EU, Ministry of Health and UN.”
The statement quoted Edward Kallon, the UN’s Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordination in Nigeria, as saying: “The arrival of the medical supplies will be a boost to the government’s efforts.
“It will be a boost to 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 EU has contributed EUR 50 million through the Nigeria One UN COVID-19 response, which served as One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform through which different stakeholders could channel their financial support to the multi-sectoral efforts of the PTF on COVID-19.
The statement also quoted Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, as saying that the gesture signified “a vital step in the response to the pandemic”.
Karlsen said: “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 the while, making sure that we protect the most vulnerable.”
The growing COVID-19 crisis threatened 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 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.
The Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said: “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.”