By Michael Olugbode
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries have made available N21 billion for the building of hospitals in 12 states across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health (State), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Emergency and Infectious Disease Hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, at the weekend.
Mamora said the health care delivery sector is currently witnessing major infrastructural development that would outlive the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said health care facilities being put in place across the country is a major step to address the infrastructural deficit in the health sector.
The minister disclosed that the hospital project across the 12 states is a joint project between the NNPC and its partners, which N21 billion has been budgeted to construct them in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He noted that the project, which groundbreaking was being done, would not only help to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but would assist to address the health care challenges in the North-east region and beyond.
Mamora said: “This project is going to create a kind of turnaround in the health care delivery system of this country, and we are very grateful to the NNPC and its partners for this.
“COVID-19 pandemic has destabilised the entire system-socially, culturally, economically, religiously and so on. For us in Nigeria that we hitherto had what we call weak health system, and with COVID-19 emergence, it’s like exposing that weakness in our health system.
“One of the things that this hospital project will achieve is that even when COVID-19 pandemic is no more, certain landmarks in the health care sector would have been established; that is the importance of the project which foundation we just laid in Maiduguri today.”
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, commended the NNPC and its partners in mitigating the humanitarian crises in the state and supporting its rebuilding efforts.
According to him, “What we’re seeing today is part of the institutional capacity building measures envisaged by President Muhammadu Buhari and delivered by the NNPC and its allied organisations in the oil sector.”
Zulum said the selection of Maiduguri in siting the gigantic health outfit was quite apt because of its strategic location within the geopolitical zones and for it being the epicentre of humanitarian crises resulting from insurgency.