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A gesture of kindness from Japan



A gesture of kindness from Japan

Almost a year after donating the first batch of ambulances to Nigerian hospitals, the Japanese government recently kept to its promise of adding an additional 12 ambulances to hospitals across the country. REGINA OTOKPA reports


Exactly 392 days after making a pledge to the Nigerian government to complete the donation of 43 ambulances, the Japanese government recently kept to its word by handing over 12 ambulances in addition to the 31 handed over to the Federal Government on June 30, 2017. The donation is part of Japan’s non-project grant aid for provision of Japanese small and medium enterprise products, targeted at contributing to the enhancement of the nation’s healthcare system through extensive coverage of ambulance services to support the development of an inclusive and robust medical health system in Nigeria.

Each ambulance is fully equipped with a stretcher, transport ventilator, stethoscope to monitor patients, two oxygen cylinders, a solar and battery powered suction machine, all aimed at providing emergency care in order to reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity of patients in the country. According to the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Yutaka Kikuta, improving the quality of the healthcare system in Nigeria is one of Japan’s priority areas and one of the three pillars of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI). “Japan is a country which keeps her words. Around this time last year, the government of Japan handed over to the Ministry of Health, 31 ambulances in the first batch of delivery out of the total 43 ambulances. These ambulances were meant to be distributed to every state of Nigeria and the FCT.

At that occasion, my predecessor, Amb. Kusaoke, promised that the remaining 12 ambulances would be delivered in due course. “Health, being part of the foundation of the economic and social development of a country, has always been one of the foundation of the government of Japan in its Official Development Assistance to Nigeria (ODA).

However, this project is particularly unique because ambulances mostly serve those in a very critical condition when the availability of an ambulance and rapid response could mean the difference between life and death.” Expressing gratitude to the Japanese government for fulfilling its promise, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, noted that Nigerians have benefitted immensely from the Japanese in diverse sectors to help boost the economy.

“Nigeria has also benefitted in other areas such as the power sector, upgrading of primary healthcare centres in some states, education and the establishment of laboratories at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is in the pipeline. All these are viable in reviving the economy of the nation.” While assuring the Japanese of effective usage, management and maintenance of the ambulances, Adewole revealed that, ” we are already creating an avenue for supporting emergency care. Five per cent of the 1 per cent consolidated fund will go into offering emergency care, ” he said.

Similarly, the Embassy of Japan recently handed over the Saburi Primary Healthcare Clinic in Abuja. The health facility was rehabilitated by Japan in collaboration with Switzerland as their contribution to the Improvement of Primary Healthcare in Federal Capital Territory.

The clinic, located in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in the Federal Capital Territory was constructed at the cost of US$82,096 only. It involved the construction of a health facility consisting of two consulting rooms, a labour room, a delivery room, a pharmacy, female and male wards, a record room, a nurse station, toilets and the provision of medical equipment and furniture.

The healthcare facility was handed over to the Federal Capital Territory Administration during a ceremony at the clinic. Also handed over was a solar-powered borehole, which was installed on the premises of the clinic. The Embassy of Japan expressed hopes that this facility would contribute to the improvement of basic healthcare in Saburi District of the FCT, and strengthen the amicable relationship between Nigeria and Japan. Since 1998, the Japanese government through its Embassy in Nigeria has funded the execution of 164 projects with a total amount of US$11,415,338 across Nigeria.

These projects are designed to meet the diverse needs of the people and bringing a direct impact on the well-being of grass-roots communities in Nigeria. The projects were executed under the GPP, a Japanese assistance scheme, designed to provide financial grant assistance to non-profit organizations implementing development projects at the grass-roots level.

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