How Total Intervened in COVID-19, Emergency in Nigeria

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By Peter Uzoho

Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited has highlighted interventions it made in complementing the efforts of government at both the national and state levels to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria It explained at a recent parley with journalists that it made those interventions because it sees Nigeria as home and likes to identify with communities where it operates.

The company pointed out that it was part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)-led oil industry endeavour that donated N21 billion to the federal government’s COVID-19 effort with N1.2 billion as its individual contribution.

From the N1.2 billion contribution, Total said it is building two Emergency and Infectious Diseases (EID) Hospitals, one each in Maiduguri and Katsina, in addition to two Diagnostics Centres, one each in Minna and Damaturu.

The upstream giant also indicated the above gesture was followed by similar contributions to states, citing Lagos State which got 20 hospital beds; two surgical ventilators; two Primaflex Dialysis machines; 50,000 litres of fuel/diesel, and 2,000 face masks at a time the pandemic made such items difficult to procure.

Speaking at the session, the Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and Services, Total, Mr. Abiodun Afolabi, said Total was keen on the sustainability of projects and its interventions and that that was why the company prefers to complete programmes and projects before talking about them.

“For us, it is not a short-term aim; what we are doing is for the long term. We want to see that what we are doing is sustainable. Our own is not just to deliver and walk away, we donate and follow up to see that what we have given has brought value or the envisaged impact,” Afolabi said.

He stated that by so doing, lessons were learnt for the sustainability of the next project.

The company also explained that in the first phase of that effort, the donation covered three thematic areas, namely, provision of medical consumables; deployment of logistics and in-patient support services as well as medical infrastructure.

In his earlier presentation on the company’s interventions towards taming the pandemic in Nigeria, the Executive General Manager, Operations Support Services, Total, Mr. Alex Aghedo, stated that Total also reached out to the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN) in Lagos with foodstuff, sanitary products and the much-needed antiretroviral drugs.

The company explained that in Rivers State, it donated food items which included 800 bags of rice, 6,000 tubers of yam, 3,000+ cartons of noodles, among others to Egi Communities.

To Erema General Hospital in OML 58, it said it donated medical beds, safety gowns, goggles, sanitisers, sprayers, drugs, disinfectants and more, noting that it also donated medical equipment to the six Division of Nigerian Army in Rivers State.

On the need for an Oxygen plant, Aghedo said in collaboration with the Lagos Ministry of Health and our partners (NNPC, CNOOC, SAPETRO, Prime) the company decided to build and donate a medical oxygen plant at the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos.

“We believe that this facility would be useful even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It would not only help improve the state’ capacity to care for COVID-19 patients but also further strengthen capacity to manage other conditions associated with oxygen deficiency,” Aghedo explained.

He added that the facility was in the last stages of construction and will be handed over to the Lagos State Government very soon.

He also stated that the plant could cater to the needs of Lagos and other nearby states daily when operational.
The company also indicated that it has made similar interventions in the past as it gave a glimpse into its intervention during another deadly infectious disease – Ebola

In his remarks, the Country Communication Manager, Total, Dr. Charles Ebereonwu, noted that while that the company had done a lot in assisting various levels of government to fight against the pandemic, it was telling the stories to inspire others to make their quota of contributions towards improving the lives of Nigerians.