By Adedayo Akinwale
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said that it has programmed $1.1 million, which is equivalent to ₦427 million, to upgrade and expand the capacity of the nine Emergency Operations Centre (EOCs) for Covid-19 response in Nigeria, in line with priorities set by Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, disclosed this when he joined the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, to virtually commission an EOC for the state, which she said has been equipped with support of the American people to track and control the spread of the deadly Covid-19.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the US Mission in Abuja, the Ambassador added that Cross River is the first of nine states to receive the EOC upgrades.
Leonard said: “In line with priorities set by Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programmed $1.1 million (₦427 million) to upgrade and expand the capacity of the nine EOCs to strengthen the COVID-19 response in Nigeria.
“The upgraded centres are now equipped as operational digital situation and communication rooms that power and coordinate the state Covid response and other disease outbreaks, utilising data integration, warehousing, and visualization to provide state officials transparent and real-time information on COVID-19.
“With the commissioning of these EOCs, Nigeria can better coordinate the COVID-19 outbreak response and surveillance activities, as well as any other emergent disease outbreaks or disasters. They will help turn the tide of the pandemic within their states, ultimately the nation, and flatten the COVID-19 curve.”
The upgrades, she said, have helped seamlessly and creatively transform previous investments and experiences to support Nigeria’s Covid-19 response by leveraging the existing PEPFAR, tuberculosis and other health investments.
The ambassador noted that over the last two decades, the United States has invested more than $8 billion in the Nigerian health sector.
The ambassador noted that these investments included boosting laboratory capacity, establishing mega labs, procuring diagnostic machines, augmenting sample transport, enhancing contact tracing, mobilizing risk management communications, and fine-tuning data analytics, outbreak management and monitoring.
Other states supported by USAID for the upgrades include Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Kano, Niger and Oyo.