… Budgets 500,000 USD
By Ijeoma Ukazu
To close the gaps and inadequacy of oxygen security in Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and IHS Towers is set to support Oyo and Kano States with medical oxygen equipments and other related accessories worth USD 500,000.
Speaking during a one day stakeholders engagement meeting on oxygen security Thursday, in Ibadan, Oyo State organised by UNICEF and IHS Towers -a leading telecommunications infrastructure company in the world.
The Health Specialist, UNICEF Country Office, Dr. Khalilu Mohammed said, “UNICEF and IHS are supporting the health sector in Nigeria and have approved the supply of 500,000 USD worth of oxygen equipment to be implemented in Oyo and Kano states in two years.”
According to him medical oxygen in Nigeria has been a big challenge, adding that the advent of Covid-19 further revealed the enormous need for oxygen in the health sector, stressing that there has been a dearth of life-saving medical devices used for treating patients suffering from Coronavirus infection.
Mohammed added that the Delta variant has contributed to the current wave of Covid-19 in Nigeria and with a resultant inflow of hospitalized patients.
He applauded the state government’s efforts to fighting the recurrent waves of Coronavirus, adding that UNICEF will continue its support to national response, including the procurement and delivery of life-saving medical equipment, such as oxygen concentrators.
Contributing, the Health Specialist, UNICEF Akure, Dr. Ijeoma Agbor, said “The Covid-19 pandemic showed a lot of gap in our healthcare system. Also, it shows that our health system do not have the capacity to manage Covid-19 cases as well as other cases that needed medical oxygen. We have had this strategy -The Oxygen Strategy, so we need to scale up medical oxygen in our health facilities in Nigeria.”
Agbor stated; “The goal for this project is to strengthen and sustain health system resilience and address oxygen security. This timely contribution will supplement the state government’s continuous efforts to augment the healthcare system and provide the best possible care to patients.”
She said UNICEF aims at scaling up medical oxygens in Oyo State, manage its delivery and finance the delivery mechanisms, while commending the commitment from the Ministry of Health and the Primary Healthcare Board, saying the oxygen concentrators which will be procured in collaboration with IHS will be distributed to major health facilities in the State.
In his words, the Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Muyideen Olatunji said, “We have gaps as far as oxygen system strengthening is concern in the state and if you pick from what was discussed, Oyo and Kano state have been identified for support.”
Olatunji called for collaboration to make the healthcare system in the State better, adding that the State government values its partnership with UNICEF which has also contributed to the State’s response to Covid-19.