COVID-19: We supported FG with N11bn – Kyari #Realnews2020Lecture

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Usman Baba, MD, NETCO

By Anayo Ezugwu

IN support of the federal government’s fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mele Kyari, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has said that the oil and gas sector donated  N11 billion ($30 million) to strengthen the country’s collective resolve to contain the spread of the virus. He said the corporation galvanized companies operating in the sector to set up an industry-wide initiative to provide support in kind to the government.

Speaking at the eighth-anniversary lecture of Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited in Lagos, on Thursday, November 19, Kyari said the support was hinged on three thematic initiatives with donations coming from across the oil and gas value chain.  He said the three thematic areas included the provision of medical consumables, deployment of medical logistics and in-patient support system and delivery of medical infrastructure.

According to Kyari, these donations were outside the regular corporate social responsibility initiative routinely deployed by the NNPC and its partners. He noted that all the commitments under the scheme were collected in kind through a clear, well established, and transparent governance framework. “For medical consumables, the intervention scaled up the provision of testing kits, medical protective equipment, face shields and laboratory scientific kits.

“For logistics and in-patient support system, ambulances, ventilators, respirators, and oxygen supply facilities were provided, while makeshift intensive care facilities, ICU beds and state-of-the-art diagnostic laboratories were also provided. At the onset of the pandemic only two health facilities (Infectious Disease Hospital IDH Yaba, Lagos and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada) were designated for its management.

“We also initiated the construction of twelve 200-bed infectious disease hospitals in the six geopolitical zones. Groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted for Katsina, Imo and Bayelsa states with the remaining states to be conducted soon. These projects will be fully funded by the NNPC and its partners and will manage cases of infectious diseases like COVID-19, and other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Cholera etc,” he said.

Kyari noted that medical supplies were sent to many states to complement their efforts in curtailing the virus and infrastructure were also provided. Specifically, the GMD said on May 12, the corporation and its partners commissioned the ThisDay Dome COVID-19 testing, tracing and treatment Centre at Abuja. He said the centre was equipped by industry stakeholders and other corporate bodies among which are the NNPC, Sahara Group, CA-COVID and China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC.

According to the GMD, the facility, a one-stop shop delivers COVID-19 testing of up to 200 samples collected within 24 hours and boasts of an Intensive Care Unit, Ventilators and a 54 Gene laboratory. “Chevron Nigeria Limited and NNPC Joint Venture also donated a Polymerase Chain Reaction, PCR, laboratory facility to Warri Central Hospital to support the fight against COVID-19 in Delta State. The provision of the state-of-the-art molecular laboratory testing centre with a brand-new PCR machine brings COVID-19 testing centres to two in the state.

“Also donated to the new centre at Warri Central Hospital were test kits, medical consumables, five air conditioners, refrigerators and a 50-KVA soundproof generating set as well as the renovation of the four-bedroom laboratory building. We led Industry partners (Chevron & Bovas Company Ltd) to Kano State in Northern Nigeria where were we donated ambulances, ventilators, medical consumables, personal protective kits amongst others. On the 27th March, 2020, NNPC also donated critical medical equipment worth over N200 million to the Gwagwalada COVID-19 Isolation Centre to beef up its capacity.

“As an organization, our first strategy in containing COVID -19 was to ensure that our staff remains healthy and there is reduced disease transmission in our operations. To this end I personally took responsibility of ensuring my staff and stakeholders in our areas of operations were safe by instituting measures such as temperature checks, hand washing practices,  self-isolation for staff and dependents, who have just returned from foreign trips and social distancing in the office and operational areas.”

Also following the federal government directive on the lockdown, Kyari said he directed that only management staff and staff on essential duties remain at work. He stated that adequate health measures were put in place to ensure safety of those at work. “We also directed Heads of Strategic Business Units and Divisions to come up with Business Continuity plans, which ensured that our operations continued despite the lockdown.

“Our robust investment in Information Technology Architecture paid off as staff could work from home. This resulted in greater efficiency and huge cost savings. Our Medical team ensured that the health and safety of all staff, our families, and other stakeholders were not compromised by this pandemic through collaborative efforts with health agencies at Federal, State and Local Government levels to mount appropriate responses to the coronavirus outbreak.  These ensured cases were detected and managed promptly,” he said.

– Nov. 20, 2020 @ 18:19 GMT |

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