United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and government of Japan with support from the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has donated two oxygen plants and 23 solar-driven refrigerators to Borno State government.
After handing over the oxygen plants and solar-drive- refrigerators to Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, at the state specialist hospital yesterday in Maiduguri, the UNOPS project manager, Atinuke Fakunle, said the project would directly benefit approximately 7.1 million people within 26 local government areas in Borno State, of which 24 per cent are children and approximately 45 per cent are women.
Fakunle added that UNOPS worked closely with the state government, NEDC and the hospital administration to ensure national ownership throughout the project circle.
She said the overall objective of this project was to strengthen healthcare provision, build resilience of health systems in conflict affected and hard to reach communities, and enable primary healthcare facilities to provide acceptable standards of medical care in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that the activities would seek to address the increasing vulnerability and mortality due to COVID-19, compounded by the insurgency in Borno State.
Fakunle said, “The expected outcome of the project is increased production of oxygen in Borno State for the treatment of acute respiratory complications. Increased vaccination coverage due to efficient vaccine storage.”
In his remarks, the managing director NEDC, Mohammed Alkali, said in support of efforts made by both international and local development partners to improve quality of lives of citizens, NEDC is happy to work with government of Japan and United Nations office for project services to strengthen healthcare system in the state, which culminated in the handover ceremony for the project.
Represented by Boboi Umar, senior technical assistant to the Managing Director, Alkali said, “The commission graciously supported the project by offsetting custom duties and other seaport clearance costs in respect of the solar refrigerators and oxygen plants being handed over here.
“The commission appreciates the humanitarian gesture of the government of Japan by providing these facilities through a grant to improve the healthcare system in Borno state, which NEDC is glad to key into. The oxygen plants are well deserved to address emergencies that require critical provision of medical oxygen such as acute respiratory diseases like pneumonia and asthma, which are leading causes of mortality in Nigeria.”
Also, the medical director, State Specialist Hospital, Dr. Laraba Bello, noted that the Japanese government did not put the oxygen plant in the wrong place because, Borno State government believes in qualitative healthcare delivery.
The permanent secretary, Borno State Ministry of Health, Dr. Aminu Ghuluze, said the project was coming at a time when the state government was establishing one of the largest state-owned university teaching hospitals in the country.
He added that the project’s usefulness therefore could never be overemphasized, noting that the ministry as part of the project’s sustainability had appointed a technical team to manage and maintain the plant.