Dangote Foundation is paying off the cost of quarantining Nigeria’s returnee volunteer workers who helped to eliminate Ebola Virus Disease in other West African countries
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Jun 15, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
AS part of its commitment to continue partnering governments at all levels, the Dangote Foundation has offered to offset the cost of quarantining Nigeria’s returnee volunteer health workers. The health workers returned to the country on Sunday, May 24, after six months in Ebola-ravaged West African countries. The foundation is expending more than N60 million on the accommodation of the 200 returning volunteers delegation who travelled to support the Ebola containment effort in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
According to a press statement released by the foundation, the federal government has also acknowledged the infrastructural and financial assistance rendered by the foundation in tackling the scourge of Ebola in Nigeria. The statement quoted Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, director of Port Health Services, federal ministry of health, as commending the foundation for its patriotic assistance. Gwarzo said, “The intervention of the Dangote Foundation in the containment of the Ebola Virus is unprecedented in the history of intervention efforts in Nigeria by a single business entity. Dangote Foundation has footed the bill all the way through in the fight against the Ebola Disease in Nigeria and provided 12 state-of-the-art thermal cameras for the airports. They trained 160 staff of the federal ministry of health and paid for workers to manage the 200 returnees currently in our custody and spent millions more. I must say our thank you is with a difference.”
The statement also quoted Abdulsalam Nasidi, chief executive officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, as describing the role of the foundation in the containment of the Ebola disease as immeasurable. “We ran an emergency centre with virtually little or nothing. It was the Dangote Foundation that empowered our centre. I don’t have words to use. The Foundation provided funds for procurement of facilities to run case management, infection, prevention, control and communication which are the major response of disease control centre,” he said.
Joshua Olusegun Obasanya, team leader of the health workers, said in the statement that the foundation had been supporting the volunteers financially and technically, and had been facilitating their integration back to the Nigerian society since their arrival on May 24. “With this kind of support, the Dangote Foundation is helping to keep the Nigerian society safe. We are being camped for 21 days during which we would be monitoring ourselves,” he said.
Obasanya explained that every volunteer was insured, adding that before the team left Nigeria, Dangote Foundation provided immediate intervention by mobilising human resources. It would be recalled that during last year’s Ebola outbreak, Dangote Foundation contributed a sum of N153 million for the establishment of the National Ebola Emergency Operations Centre, EEOC, in Yaba, Lagos, and paid salaries of selected staff and volunteers for six months.
The foundation also donated a sum of $3 million to the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, AAEST, established by the African Union Commission to mobilise resources from the African private sector to fight the scourge of the disease. The foundation spent N66 million in acquiring 12 units of state-of-the-art thermal scanning systems and cameras being used for fever scanning at Nigeria’s four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt and also paid for the training of 160 staff of federal ministry of health, Port Health Services, on the use of the thermal scanners.
In addition, it donated N26 million for the 3,800 sets of World Health Organisation, WHO-approved Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, which oversees the Ebola Emergency Operations Centre.