By Adedayo Akinwale
The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), has donated essential medical equipment to the government of Nigeria as part of the regional response strategy to curtailing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The commission, in a statement issued Sunday by its Directorate of Communication, Mr. Oghogho Obayuwana, said with the active support of the German government, through its Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the development agency-Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and bank- Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), 12,800 goggles, 294,000 small, medium and large gloves, 23,220 small, medium and large gowns, 8,190 coverall and 1,600 face shields were donated.
Obayuwana said other items donated are 12,000 masks, 10,000 surgical masks, 5,000 sanitizers, 40,512 diagnostic test kits and two each of ventilators and ventilator trolleys.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, was quoted as saying that the donation was an indication of the firm commitment of the regional community to the fight against Covid-19.
Brou commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the leadership and support provided including logistics back up to aid the distribution of the items to other ECOWAS member states.
He noted that the materials donated would go a long way in the fight against Covid-19, adding that sustenance of the collective and coordinated regional efforts in ensuring that the health and wellbeing of West African citizens are guaranteed.
On his part, the Director-General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, said that the donation of critical medical equipment was part of the larger efforts at flattening the Covid-19 curve.
He stressed that as the collaboration of partners for a common goal was yielding desired fruits, it has become imperative for the population to get into the habit of behavioural change adjustments.
Also, the Coordinator, GIZ-ECOWAS cluster and the representative of German government, Mr. Ludwig Kirchner, commended the GIZ-WAHO partnership on infectious diseases which started in 2016.
He maintained that the mobilisation of finances and technical assistance in the face of cooperation in the area of equipment procurement would be of benefit to the ECOWAS region, seeing that the cases of Covid-19 in the area had risen to 90,000.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, maintained that the public health institutions, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 were set up to lead the whole of government response strategy and determine non-pharmaceutical measures to ensure the safety of citizens.
He noted that the country’s health workers who are toiling assiduously to treat Covid-19 patients, provide emergency care, while not losing sight of routine and essential health services needed for the support and encouragement of all.