By Francis Sardauna
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has commenced the construction of a 200-bed Emergency and Infectious Disease Hospital for the North-west region in Katsina State.
The N21 billion project, situated in Kaita Local Government Area of the state, is expected to fight infectious disease bedevilling citizens in the region.
Speaking during the ground breaking of the project in Kaita on Saturday, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, said the project would be completed within the stipulated timeframe of 18 months.
He added that the project when completed, would provide medical consumables, logistics and inpatients support system to cater for the residents within the North-west region.
According to him, the initiative is meant to support and strengthen the country’s national healthcare delivery facilities in combating the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
He said Katsina State is among the 12 states selected for the humanitarian project based on objectivity, epicentre and population, adding that “beyond Covid-19, the centre may focus on lassa fever and anything that can be infectious to our society”.
“This project will be delivered. We are doing it in 12 states of the six geopolitical zones of this country. We are trusting that this project will be run efficiently by the Katsina State Government.
“This project is practically founded by the Federal Government of Nigeria because it is financed by our production sharing contract arrangement, which means that NNPC will pay for 100 per cent of this contract at the end of the day,” he stated.
In addition to the current project, he said NNPC had donated one Toyota ambulance, 10,000 pieces of masks and full set of ventilator kits to the Katsina State Government to support its ongoing war against the global health crisis.
Earlier, the Katsina State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu, said the construction of the infectious disease hospital would complement the effort of the state government in expanding its isolation centres across the state.
He said: “We are very excited for the project. It is a project that was already on the pipeline. We were just waiting for funds, so the assistance from the NNPC is timely.
“We hope that the construction will go on schedule so that it will really impact on the people and also the issue of pandemic which is the most reason for the hospital.”
Yakubu called on the NNPC to equip the hospital with laboratory equipment after the construction “so that we will not depend on private initiative for testing as we are doing now”.