The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has donated 126 units of Patient Monitors and 63 units of Oxygen Concentrators, worth $600,000 dollars, to 21 Federal healthcare institutions, across the six geopolitical zones, said Mr Uche Orji, the NSIA Managing Director.
Speaking at the formal handover of the equipment to the institutions, on Thursday, at a virtual ceremony, Orji said each institution would receive four regular patient monitors, two Intensive Care Unit (ICU) monitors, and three dual oxygen concentrators, to augment government’s ongoing effort of enhancing patient care in the treatment of COVID-19.
Similarly, he added, that the donation would also add to the stock of critical medical equipment needed in these hospitals across the country.
Orji disclosed that health care was a key area of focus for the NSIA, while its mandate was to preserve capital for generations.
“We must first ensure that Nigeria is afforded the environment to keep us alive.
“Our vision for healthcare is twofold. The first is for us to develop centres, to reduce medical tourism by investing in and developing viable projects in the sector.
“The second is on developing and investing in Centres of Excellence, that will provide world class health care services domestically, and lastly we seek to provide tools to show that healthcare professionals are able to deliver at the highest level.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and also the head of the government’s taskforce on Covid-19 response, commended the NSIA for the donation to healthcare delivery, and charged the beneficiary health centers to use the donated equipment for the benefit of all.
Speaking on the Federal Government’s interventions to curb the spread of the pandemic, Mustapha said the Federal Government had rehabilitated oxygen plants in various health institutions, and was also in the process of constructing one in each state of the federation, to combat the shortage of oxygen needed by patients requiring critical care.
He, however, counseled that every citizen, or guests to the country, must commit to creating a COVID free environment, because “we cannot stop the spread of the virus if we fail to take responsibility for our behaviours and continue to be agents, or carriers of this virus.
“To those still in doubt, I say COVID-19 is real. Please wash your hands regularly, wear a mask, and avoid social gatherings.”
On her part, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, said that the pandemic had, on the one hand, opened new opportunities in areas of technology, as well as created avenues for innovative industries to succeed in key sectors of the economy.
“On the other hand, it has also constrained some sectors and brought untold hardship to the population.”
She commended the NSIA for its involvement in the health sector, noting that it had shown understanding of the principle that ”investment in health, investing in human beings, was also investing in the economy” because it yielded better returns than those from infrastructure.
“I am also pleased to say that the NSIA, in 2020, provided, on the instructions of Mr President, $150 million dollars from the stabilisation fund, to support government’s efforts at stabilising the economy.
“These were funds we were able to use to stabilise the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), over a three month period, so that the impact of our reduced revenues was largely mitigated.”
Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, said that with interventions such as the NSIA’s donations, the health sector would find the way forward.
“Primary health care, as you know, is the foundation which we are working on at the moment. With the basic healthcare provision fund and the National Health Insurance Scheme to provide financing, and as a work in progress, it is beginning to take shape.”
According to him, the problem with the sector was not lack of enough skilled personnel, as there were skilled personnel and equipment, but lack of proper management that met the purpose.
Also speaking, Dr Chike Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said the intervention had come at a critical time, when there were increases in cases, in health facilities.
He said that the equipment would enable the provision of specialised care, which was a major need in all the facilities, adding, “We need to find innovative ways to fund this, not as an act of charity, nor as an act of altruism, but really to ensure the long term sustainability of the country that we love.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NSIA has a mission of playing a leading role in driving sustained economic development, for the benefit of all Nigerians, by building a savings base. It also enhances the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure, including providing stabilisation support in times of economic stress. (NAN)