More than 900 individual donors including celebrities, and about twenty corporate organizations, have donated to the N1 Billion Health Workers Fund initiated by Giving.ng, a reputable crowdfunding platform.
By the end of July, the Fund launched in April 2020 had paid over N25.7 million in hazard allowances to one hundred and eleven frontline health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
A statement by Giving.ng made available in Lagos shows that the Fund was seeded with N25 million by leading commercial bank, Sterling Bank Plc. In addition, about 900 Nigerians including celebrities and 20 corporate bodies have supported the Fund.
In the statement, Governing Board Chairman of the Health Workers Fund, Dr Olaokun Soyinka, commended the resilience of all health workers and their dedication to duty while appreciating the good gesture of all donors for what he described “as a magic in the oft-neglected area of incentivising health workers, which is critical.”
He disclosed that one hundred and eleven health workers have been paid N100,000.00 for three consecutive months, across seven states of the federation. “With what we have done, we have decided against the backdrop of the increasing numbers of infected COVID-19 cases across the country and the need to protect our protectors, to extend the payment for another three months, up till October 31st, 2020.”
Dr. Soyinka added that “we are hoping to expand both the scope and reach of our work. With our plan to extend the period of intervention, we will be counting on getting more partners on the project as the board evolves rapidly to stay ahead of COVID-19 developments and will discharge our duty transparently.”
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, the Health Workers’ Fund is the bank’s battle cry because even if the country builds 1,000 new Intensive Care Units (ICUs) today and healthcare workers are unable to attend to patients because they are falling sick, there will be a problem.
He added that; “understanding the challenges of the health workers prior to the pandemic and during the early days, is a critical motivation behind our support for the project. We are glad to have supported a project that has carried on brilliantly.”
Other brands that have supported the project include Pulse.ng, Trace TV, Hygeia HMO, Cerebre Digital Media, Netcore Solutions, Ventures Africa, ONTV, while celebrity partners include Chef Fregz, Desmond Elliot, the Mbadiwe Twins, Toby Grey, Sly Williams, Fawazzy, D’Angel and MC Rhelax among others.