The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2019 election in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, on Friday donated three ventilators to the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a statement on Friday by the Natasha Akpoti Foundation, although the state had yet to record any COVID-19 case, the ventilators are the first to be installed in the public health facility in the state.
Akpoti charged individuals and the business community to assist the government to fight the global scourge shortly after the equipment was unveiled on Friday.
She added that the gesture was her response to humanity and patriotism to save Nigerians.
Akpoti said, “Everyone must help each other because we cannot fold our hands and wait for the government to equip our hospitals. We know that our hospitals have been neglected for so many years and imagine that hospitals in Kogi State do not have ventilators, so, I thought I should act if the government is not doing anything. This is my little capacity to act.
“The three ventilators have been installed at the Federal Medical Centre and they have been unveiled. As of today, there is no recorded case of COVID-19 in Kogi, but it does not mean we should fold our hands. It is a proactive measure to ensure that whenever any patient surfaces, these facilities should be offered free of charge.
“Beyond this coronavirus pandemic, I hope these facilities will be able to service patients who have respiratory problems. I am passionate about healthcare and I am requesting that these facilities should be administered without a fee because I have at many times in my life been denied healthcare services because I could not afford it, even in government-owned hospitals.
“I am doing this not because I am a politician, it is open for everyone to use. I hope that the business communities in the state should do the same by donating equipment to the hospitals at the moment and not always cash.”
Also speaking, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Dr Olatunde Alabi, said the machines will be useful beyond the COVID-19 era to service accident victims along the busy Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road.
“This is a big gesture to Kogi and Nigeria. The ventilators are life support machines that are meant to help patients having respiratory failure. These machines are not readily available even if you have the money. So, for her to go the extra mile to get the ventilators for the hospital is a huge thing for the institution.
“Even after the COVID-19, they will still be very useful. So, what she has done is looking ahead. Lokoja is situated along the very busy Okene-Abuja express road where we have sometimes have a lot of road traffic accidents.
“For the first time in this hospital, we would be having mobile ventilators and she is the one that has brought them. She brought two mobile ventilators and one digital static ventilator.
“She is like a pacesetter setting good examples for others. This is a philanthropy of the highest order and it is a sacrifice for humanity,” he said.