In a bid to effectively fight the second wave of coronavirus, the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has supported the Federal Government with the supply of oxygen for case management of COVID- 19 patients to isolation centres across the country.
So far, CACOVID has delivered 1,300 cylinders of oxygen to various isolation centres in the country.
Updating media on the latest donations by CACOVID, yesterday, in Lagos, Managing Director and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, who doubles as an administrator of CACOVID, said the provision of oxygen to all the isolation centres across the country was made possible by a key partner of CACOVID, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, at no cost, immediately the request for oxygen was made by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
She said: “As you all know, we are experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with this second wave. CACOVID, through one of our founding members, Mr. Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, immediately stepped up and has been providing oxygen in Abuja, mainly to the National Hospital and Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in FCT.
“Since December 21, 2020, when we first received the request for oxygen from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, 1,300 cylinders have been delivered and we will continue to do so as long as this is required.”
Youssoufou said the same offer has been made to Lagos State, where there is oxygen shortage and that CACOVID, as at last week, has provided 122 cylinders already refilled for use and sent to the Yaba Medical Centre.
She said: “In addition to the oxygen that has been provided by African Industries Group, CACOVID has also purchased over 1,000 cylinders to be distributed to the states that have the most need.”
Making a commitment on behalf of CACOVID, Gupta said: “…We will continue to support Nigeria with oxygen for free for as long as this is required. No COVID-19 patient in any public hospital or isolation centre should have to pay for oxygen. We have been in Nigeria for 50 years and this year marks our 50th anniversary.
We manufacture oxygen as one of our steel making process, but when we noticed COVID- 19 patients are dying of oxygen, we have to step in, through CACOVID.
“As a member of CACOVID, this is our support in moving the country forward and we see this as a humanitarian crisis. And as a responsible company, we have to step in, to ensure that no-one died due to lack of oxygen. If it takes us to temporarily stop our steel production, we will happily do that for our people to live and be healthy in Nigeria.”
On cost implication, Gupta said it is a secondary issue and that what is of most concerns to the company is saving lives.
Youssoufou recalled that since March 2020 when CACOVID was convened, the coalition has raised about N39 billion, which has been spent on supporting the establishment of 39 isolation centres across the country, including the largest and most used in Lagos, during this second wave.
She said: “We also purchased millions of PPEs, testing supplies, palliatives for 10.7 million people and provided risk communication in support of the messaging campaigns to keep Nigerians aware and protected from the virus.”